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The Chocolate War (1974)

by Robert Cormier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chocolate War (1)

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4,7301942,094 (3.53)133
A high school freshman discovers the devastating consequences of refusing to join in the school's annual fund raising drive and arousing the wrath of the school bullies.

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» See also 133 mentions

English (191)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
I had not read The Chocolate War since it came out originally! Yep, I am dating myself... I had forgotten most of it. While some of the descriptions clearly show the era in which it was written, the themes are universal.

There is no clear "happy ending" for all involved. Jerry, as the "underdog with a heart", doesn't come out on top; Archie isn't punished for his actions; Obie doesn't finally triumph over Archie and become his own man. The tension is so well written that I was uncomfortable the entire time I was reading it.

The thing I loved the most was that, even though it was written 38 years ago, I could absolutely see teens (mostly boys I think) relating to it today. Robert Cormier's writing doesn't pander to what people think teens would read. He doesn't play down language or use "easy" words. He bolts headlong into the story and never looks back. ( )
  Dawn.Zimmerer | Jan 9, 2023 |
There isn’t much of value in Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War. The plot (and the “chocolate war” itself) is nothing but a MacGuffin. The characters are archetypes with only a thin skin of dialogue stretched over their skeleton. When the reader is told a character is amazing and leagues above other humans in innate skill and ability, it's reductive. Show me, don't tell me. This doesn’t even begin to deal with the fantasy-like elements of a secret society running a high school

But the moments of Jerry's longing for his dead mother and explosive resistance to not living out his currently unknown dreams is effective. Robert Cormier is clearly a man who has lost, yet retains his dreams. Too bad this single scene appears early in the book and fails to connect Jerry’s actions to his dead mother and dreamless father. I understand what Cormier is going for, but come on, to “dare to disturb the universe” by not selling chocolates? T.S. Eliot's pearls thrown before swine.

In the end, the villains remain villains and the heroes end bloody or powerless. Is this the way the world is? In some ways, yes, but in other ways, absolutely not. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” My major problem here is I've read several books that do what The Chocolate War fails to do. Infinite Jest gives us real high schoolers with cruelty, love, doubts, and fears; The Lord of the Flies give us the brutal humanity. ( )
  gideonslife | Jan 5, 2023 |
Not my cup of tea. ( )
  cziering | Nov 27, 2022 |
  laplantelibrary | Apr 10, 2022 |
Boy what a page turner! Very disturbing book with no happy resolution. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Cormierprimary authorall editionscalculated
Almog, EliʼanahTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Artl, Inge M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ayala, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coppini, NicolettaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Satrústegui, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deret, Jean-ClaudeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dragomir, TatianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flieger, RainerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franco, JavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Κονδύλη, ΜαρίαTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
희, 안인Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitazawa, KazuhikoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Persson, LenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poslaniec, MichèleTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reitsma-Bakker, MoonjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stakić, JelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szántó, György TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taler, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zhou, HuilingTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Бабков, ВладимирTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
شهلا ,طهماسبیTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They murdered him.
In bed once more, Jerry lay without moving, trying to summon sleep. Listening to his father's snores, he thought of how his father was actually sleeping his life away, sleeping even when he was awake, not really alive. And how about me? What was it the guy on the Common had said the other day, his chin resting on the Volkswagen like some grotesque John the Baptist? You're missing a lot of things in the world.
It was like a fart in his ear.
Do I dare disturb the universe?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A high school freshman discovers the devastating consequences of refusing to join in the school's annual fund raising drive and arousing the wrath of the school bullies.

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A young adult novel set in a parochial school. Jerry Renault does not want to participate in the school's chocolate sales. The headmaster, who has reasons of his own to want the sale to be successful, calls in the school's gang and asks them to put pressure on Jerry to make him conform. The results are catastrophic.
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Average: (3.53)
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