The Chocolate War

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Overview

ROBERT CORMIER
1925-2000

Robert Cormier (pronounced kor-MEER) lived all his life in Leominster, Massachusetts, a small town in the north-central part of the state, where he grew up as part of a close, warm community of French Canadian immigrants. His wife, Connie, also from Leominster, still lives in the house where they raised their three ...
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Overview

ROBERT CORMIER
1925-2000

Robert Cormier (pronounced kor-MEER) lived all his life in Leominster, Massachusetts, a small town in the north-central part of the state, where he grew up as part of a close, warm community of French Canadian immigrants. His wife, Connie, also from Leominster, still lives in the house where they raised their three daughters and one son–all adults now. They never saw a reason to leave. “There are lots of untold stories right here on Main Street,” Cormier once said.

A newspaper reporter and columnist for 30 years (working for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the Fitchburg Sentinel), Cormier was often inspired by news stories. What makes his works unique is his ability to make evil behavior understandable, though, of course, still evil. “I’m very much interested in intimidation,” he told an interviewer from School Library Journal. “And the way people manipulate other people. And the obvious abuse of authority.” All of these themes are evident in his young adult classic and best-known book, The Chocolate War. A 15-year-old fan of his said, “You always write from inside the person.”

Cormier traveled the world, from Australia (where he felt particularly thrilled by putting his hand in the Indian Ocean) and New Zealand to most of the countries in Europe, speaking at schools, colleges, and universities and to teacher and librarian associations. He visited nearly every state in the nation. While Cormier loved to travel, he said many times that he also loved returning to his home in Leominster.

Cormier was a practicing Catholic andattended parochial school, where in seventh grade, one of his teachers discovered his ability to write. But he said he had always wanted to be a writer: “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to get something down on paper.” His first poems were published in the Leominster Daily Enterprise, and his first professional publication occurred while he was a freshman at Fitchburg State College. His professor, Florence Conlon, sent his short story, without his knowledge, to The Sign, a national Catholic magazine. The story, titled “The Little Things That Count,” sold for $75.

Cormier’s first work as a writer was at radio station WTAG in Worcester, MA, where he wrote scripts and commercials from 1946 to 1948. In 1948, he began his award-winning career as a newspaperman with the Worcester Telegram, first in its Leominster office and later in its Fitchburg office. He wrote a weekly human-interest column, “A Story from the Country,” for that newspaper.

In 1955, Cormier joined the staff of the Fitchburg Sentinel, which later became the Fitchburg-Leominster Sentinel and Enterprise, as the city hall and political reporter. He later served as wire and associate editor and wrote a popular twice-weekly column under the pseudonym John Fitch IV. The column received the national K.R. Thomason Award in 1974 as the best human-interest column written that year. That same year, he was honored by the New England Associated Press Association for having written the best news story under pressure of deadline. He left newspaper work in 1978 to devote all his time to writing.

Robert Cormier’s first novel, Now and at the Hour, was published in 1960. Inspired by his father’s death, the novel drew critical acclaim and was featured by Time magazine for five weeks on its “Recommended Reading” list. It was followed in 1963 by A Little Raw on Monday Mornings and in 1965 by Take Me Where the Good Times Are, also critically acclaimed. The author was hailed by the Newark Advocate as being “in the first rank of American Catholic novelists.”

In 1974, Cormier published The Chocolate War, the novel that is still a bestseller a quarter century after its publication. Instantly acclaimed, it was also the object of censorship attempts because of its uncompromising realism. In a front-page review in a special children’s issue of The New York Times Book Review, it was described as “masterfully structured and rich in theme,” and it went on to win countless awards and honors, was taught in schools and colleges throughout the world, and was translated into more than a dozen languages. I Am the Cheese followed in 1977 and After the First Death in 1979.

These three books established Cormier as a master of the young adult novel. In 1991, the Young Adult Services Division of the American Library Association presented him with the Margaret A. Edwards Award, citing the trio of books as “brilliantly crafted and troubling novels that have achieved the status of classics in young adult literature.”

In 1982, Cormier was honored by the National Council of Teachers of English and its Adolescent Literature Assembly (ALAN) for his “significant contribution to the field of adolescent literature” and for his “innovative creativity.”

8 Plus 1, an anthology of short stories that have appeared in such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, The Sign, and Redbook, was published in 1980. In later years, many of the stories in the collection, notably “The Moustache,” “President Cleveland, Where Are You?” and “Mine on Thursdays,” appeared in anthologies and school textbooks. The collection also received the World of Reading Readers’ Choice Award, sponsored by Silver Burdett & Ginn, especially notable because young readers voted for Cormier to receive the prize.

I Have Words to Spend, a collection of his newspaper and magazine columns, was published in 1991, assembled and edited by his wife, Connie.

Robert Cormier’s other novels include The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, 1983; Beyond the Chocolate War, 1985; Fade, 1988; Other Bells for Us to Ring, 1990; We All Fall Down, 1991; Tunes for Bears to Dance To, 1992; In the Middle of the Night, 1995; Tenderness, 1997; Heroes, 1998; and Frenchtown Summer, 1999. This novel won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction in April 2000. All his novels have won critical praise and honors.

In the Middle of the Night and Tenderness were short-listed for the Carnegie Medal in England, and Heroes received a “Highly Commended” citation for that same award, unique honors because the Carnegie is traditionally awarded to a British book.

Cormier's novels have frequently come under attack by censorship groups because they are uncompromising in their depictions of the problems young people face each day in a turbulent world. Teachers and librarians have been quick to point out that his novels are eminently teachable, valuable, and moral. His novels are taught in hundreds of schools and in adolescent literature courses in colleges and universities.

Though many of his books are described as written for young adults, in fact people of all ages read and enjoy Cormier’s work. His themes of the ordinariness of evil and what happens when good people stand by and do nothing are treated seriously, and he never provides the easy comfort of a happy ending. Cormier’s gripping stories explore some of the darker corners of the human psyche, but always with a moral focus and a probing intelligence that compel readers to examine their own feelings and ethical beliefs.

In an interview last year, Cormier was asked if he had accomplished what he set out to do at the beginning of his writing career. He answered with characteristic humility: “Oh, yes. My dream was to be known as a writer and to be able to produce at least one book that would be read by people. That dream came true with the publication of my first novel–and all the rest has been a sweet bonus. All I’ve ever wanted to do, really, was to write.” That writing has left the world a legacy of wonderful books, a body of work that will endure.

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Chocolate War is masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful; complex ideas develop and unfold with clarity."-The New York Times Book Review

"The characterizations of all the boys are superb...  This novel [is] unique in its uncompromising portrait of human cruelty and conformity."-School Library Journal, starred review

"The novel is cleverly written with a good sense of the realistic and a good ear for dialouge, qualities which will attract any reader."-Bestsellers

"Robert Cormier has written a brilliant novel."-Children's Book Revie Service

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440944591
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1986
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.81 (w) x 6.92 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cormier

Robert Cormier (1925-2000) changed the face of young adult literature over the course of his illustrious career. His many books include The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese, Fade, Tenderness, After the First Death, Heroes, Frenchtown Summer, and The Rag and Bone Shop. In 1991 he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, honoring his lifetime contribution to writing for teens.

Biography

With The Chocolate War, an unsparing story of corruption and brutal vengeance at a Catholic boys’ school, Robert Cormier turned what had been the sunny world of young adult fiction upside down. The book launched Cormier on a highly successful and often controversial career, in which he tackled the darker issues of adolescence and American suburban life.

Like the anonymously authored Go Ask Alice in 1975, an at times harrowing story of drug abuse for young adult readers, the Chocolate War – and others of the author’s books -- ran into trouble with parent groups who found the writer’s subject matter inappropriate and his approach too explicit. (According to Herb Fostal’s Banned in the USA, The Chocolate War was fifth on a list of the most frequently banned books in American public libraries and schools in the 1990s.)

Reviewers, however, praised his writing. A journalist for much of his life, Cormier balanced his characters’ grim situations with a deft, vivid, lyrical style. Reviewing The Chocolate War, a critic for The New York Times Book Review described it as “masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful; complex ideas develop and unfold with clarity.” When it came to themes, Cormier was unromantic and unflinching. In I Am the Cheese, Cormier evoked the uneasy and elusive world of a boy whose father has testified against organized criminals; in The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, the story pivots around terminally ill teenagers; in Tenderness Cormier introduced a serial killer and a sexually manipulative teenage girl. “Every topic is open, however shocking,” he told a reporter for The Guardian in November of 2000, in what would be one of his last interviews. “It’s the way the topics are handled that’s important.” In Cormier’s world there are no easy answers and few happy endings, but there is extraordinary insight into the world of adolescence: the cruelties, the isolation, and the often-bruising search for identity.

Despite his reputation as a disturber of the literary peace, Cormier was a small-town writer, who spent nearly his entire life working as a journalist for the Fitchburg Sentinel in Massachusetts; he published a memoir of his career in 1991 titled I Have Words to Spend: Reflections of a Small-Town Editor. In addition to four novels for adults, Cormier wrote one last novel for young adults, Frenchtown Summer, the story of a young teenager’s arrival in a new town told entirely in the boy’s poetry. He died on November 2, 2000.

Good To Know

Robert Cormier never lived more than three miles away from the house where he was born in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Cormier included his own phone number as that of one of the characters in I Am the Cheese, and wound up taking calls from thousands of teenagers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Fitch IV
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 17, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      Leominster, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      November 2, 2000
    2. Place of Death:
      Leominster, Massachusetts

Read an Excerpt

THEY MURDERED HIM.

As he turned to take the ball, a dam burst against the side of his head and a hand grenade shattered his stomach. Engulfed by nausea, he pitched toward the grass. His mouth encountered gravel, and he spat frantically, afraid that some of his teeth had been knocked out. Rising to his feet, he saw the field through drifting gauze but held on until everything settled into place, like a lens focusing, making the world sharp again, with edges.

The second play called for a pass. Fading back, he picked up a decent block and cocked his arm, searching for a receiver - maybe the tall kid they called The Goober. Suddenly, he was caught from behind and whirled violently, a toy boat caught in a whirlpool. Landing on his knees, hugging the ball, he urged himself to ignore the pain that gripped his groin, knowing that it was important to betray no sign of distress, remembering The Goober's advice, "Coach is testing you, testing, and he's looking for guts."

I've got guts. Jerry murmured, getting up by degrees, careful not to displace any of his bones or sinews. A telephone rang in his ears. Hello, hello, I'm still here. When he moved his lips, he tasted the acid of dirt and grass and gravel. He was aware of the other players around him, helmeted and grotesque, creatures from an unknown world. He had never felt so lonely in his life, abandoned, defenseless.

On the third play, he was hit simultaneously by three of them: one, his knees; another, his stomach; a third, his head - the helmet no protection at all. His body seemed to telescope into itself but all the parts didn't fit, and he was stunned by the knowledge that pain isn't just one thing - it iscunning and various, sharp here and sickening there, burning here and clawing there. He clutched himself as he hit the ground. The ball squirted away. His breath went away, like the ball - a terrible stillness pervaded him - and then, at the onset of panic, his breath came back again. His lips sprayed wetness and he was grateful for the sweet cool air that filled his lungs. But when he tried to get up, his body mutinied against movement. He decided the hell with it. He'd go to sleep right here, right out on the fifty yard line, the hell with trying out for the team, screw everything, he was going to sleep, he didn't care anymore—

"Renault!"

Ridiculous, someone calling his name.

"Renault!"

The coach's voice scraped like sandpaper against his ears. He opened his eyes flutteringly. "I'm all right," he said to nobody in particular, or to his father maybe. Or the coach. He was unwilling to abandon this lovely lassitude but he had to, of course. He was sorry to leave the earth, and he was vaguely curious about how he was going to get up, with both legs smashed and his skull battered in. He was astonished to find himself on his feet, intact, bobbing like one of those toy novelties dangling from car windows, but erect.

"For Christ's sake," the coach bellowed, his voice juicy with contempt. A spurt of saliva hit Jerry's cheek.

Hey, coach, you spit on me, Jerry protested. Stop the spitting, coach. What he said aloud was, "I'm all right, coach," because he was a coward about stuff like that, thinking one thing and saying another, planning one thing and doing another - he had been Peter a thousand times and a thousand cocks had crowed in his lifetime.

"How tall are you, Renault?"

"Five nine," he gasped, still fighting for breath.

"Weight?"

"One forty-five," he said, looking the coach straight in the eye.

"Soaking wet, I'll bet," the coach said sourly. "What the hell you want to play football for? You need more meat on those bones. What the hell you trying to play quarterback for? You'd make a better end. Maybe."

The coach looked like an old gangster: broken nose, a scar on his check like a stitched shoestring. He needed a shave, his stubble like slivers of ice. He growled and swore and was merciless. But a helluva coach, they said. The coach stared at him now, the dark eyes probing, pondering. Jerry hung in there, trying not to sway, trying not to faint.

"All right," the coach said in disgust. "Show up tomorrow. Three o'clock sharp or you're through before you start."

Inhaling the sweet sharp apple air through his nostrils - he was afraid to open his mouth wide, wary of any movement that was not absolutely essential - he walked tentatively toward the sidelines, listening to the coach barking at the other guys. Suddenly, he loved that voice, "Show up tomorrow."

He trudged away from the field, blinking against the afternoon sun, toward the locker room at the gym. His knees were liquid and his body light as air, suddenly.

Know what? He asked himself, a game he played sometimes.

What?

I'm going to make the team.

Dreamer, dreamer.

Not a dream: it's the truth.

As Jerry took another deep breath, a pain appeared, distant, small - a radar signal of distress. Bleep, I'm here. Pain. His feet scuffled through crazy cornflake leaves. A strange happiness invaded him. He knew he'd been massacred by the oncoming players, capsized and dumped humiliatingly on the ground. But he'd survived - he'd gotten to his feet. "You'd make a better end." Was the coach thinking he might try him at end? Any position, as long as he made the team. The bleep grew larger, localized now, between his ribs on the right side. He thought of his mother and how drugged she was at the end, not recognizing anyone, neither Jerry nor his father. The exhilaration of the moment vanished and he sought it in vain, like seeking ecstasy's memory an instant after jacking off and encountering only shame and guilt.

Nausea began to spread through his stomach, warm and oozy and evil.

"Hey," he called weakly. To nobody. Nobody there to listen.

He managed to make it back to the school. By the time he had sprawled himself on the floor of the lavatory, his head hanging over the lip of the toilet bowl and the smell of disinfectant stinging his eyeballs, the nausea had passed and the bleep of pain had faded. Sweat moved like small moist bugs on his forehead.

And then, without warning, he vomited.
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Reading Group Guide

1. The first sentence of this book is "They murdered him." In what ways does this small sentence apply to the book as a whole? Who is murdered, metaphorically, in the book? By whom?

2. There are no main female characters in this book, partly because Trinity is a boys' school. Yet the Trinity boys often discuss girls. Jerry wishes he could talk to the girl near the bus stop. Janza watches girls as they walk by, and Archie won't let anyone touch him except certain girls. What function(s) do you think girls play in the novel?

3. Why do you think Archie is repulsed by human sweat? What do you think this says about Archie as a person?

4. Archie's greatest strength is in exploiting other people's weaknesses. Why do you think Archie does this? Why do you think he needs to manipulate every situation?

5. Discuss the significance of the title. Why is it a chocolate "war"?

6. Why do you think Jerry decides not to sell the chocolates even after his assignment is over? Have you ever dared to "disturb the universe"? What happened?

7. How do you feel about how Brother Leon treated Bailey? At the end of the class Brother Leon says that the students had allowed him to turn the class into Nazi Germany. Do you think this is a true statement?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 188 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(82)

4 Star

(50)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(17)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 188 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Decent book, I didn't really like it.

    The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is an ok book. It is easy to follow, but the plot is not that good. I thought it was a boring book. Basically, the book is about a boy named Jerry Renault who plays football for Trinity High School. There is a group of boys called The Vigils, led by Archie Castillo, and they give assignments to people to cause destruction to Trinity. Things were going good in Jerry's life until he met the Vigils. Jerry's assignment was not to sell the chocolates for a few days at the annual Trinity chocolate sale. After his deadline is up he still refuses to sell the chocolates. He turns the whole school against him by doing this. This book has a little bit of violence in it. There are some gross parts and a lot of curse words. A couple reasons why I did not like the book was the author did not tell enough about the characters, so I could not really get into it. The settings at times were confusing, like they were in the wrong place for certain parts. I also did not really understand why he said some of the things he said. It is a decent book, pretty boring in my opinion. It needed to explain more things. Robert Cormier could have taken a few things out and the book would not have changed that much. A few things were just pointless to write. I would not recommend this book. It is an easy read but it is also a very boring read. It is hard to get into the book and want to read it. It did not matter how many times I forced myself to pick it up I just could not pick it up to read for fun.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2007

    The chocolate War

    This book is a very signifacint book. It has many twist and turns to it,and it like it a lot. It has an amazing plot to it too that is very original. The title of the book is just amazing to. The chocolate war is a title that you could go many ways with. And when you actually read it, it surprises you. I love this book and i think everyone should read it. Its an amazing book, that has a great plot. There are many twist and turns and at sometimes i was confused, but there was always a resonable explanation to it. And it was also easy to understand. So even when i didnt get it they would explain it later, and i thought that that was really nice.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2009

    THIS BOOK IS GREAT!!!!!

    The Chocolate War is a great book for anyone i would recomend being older than 10, but thats just me. I could read this book a million times. This story has a great. This is my favorite book of all time and in my life i have read The catcher in the Rye and Lord of the flies no disrespect this book is 100 time better than both of those books combind.

    Jerry Renault is a high school boy who's mother has just died. Jerry tries out for the football team and the coach likes Jerry's toughness. Then he gets involved in a secret society called the virgils. The leader of the virgils gets pressured into selling chocolates. Jerry sells the chocolates and becomes a hero. Archie gets angry at Jerry and takes him from a hero to an unwanted loser, and makes him vulnerable. In the end Archie gets what he deserves.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2008

    Ce290

    Jerry is a boy who goes t trinity high school and plays on the schools football team. Goober is a fried of Jerry who is also on the football team. Archie is the leader of a group of kids called the vigils. Brother Leon is the principle of Trinity High school.Brother Leon ¿I need your help Archie¿. Archie ¿my help?¿ ¿Leon didn¿t need Archie¿s help he needed help from the vigils¿. Archie ¿but how can I help¿. Leon ¿by getting behind the sale. As you said Archie twenty thousand boxes that¿s a lot of chocolates¿. Leon ¿the price is doubled to. Two dollars a box instead of one. This passage is important because it helps to understand the book. The vigils are the ones who are leading the chocolate sale and not Brother Leon. The vigils are a powerful group of kids. The vigils have a lot of influence on what goes on around the school. They gave an assignment to jerry to not sell the chocolates for ten days but on the eleventh day jerry still would not accept to sell the chocolate for the fundraiser. There are some points that I would disagree with in the book. Like when Brother Leon hit one of his students I would think he would get fired if he did that at a real school. There are some unusual ideas in this book as well. When Archie told goober to go and unscrew everything in the classroom would not usually happen. This book does not relate to me or anyone else that I know.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    Kevin's review on The Chocolate War

    The book The chocolate war was a very interesting book. I had no clue they way the ending it was going to be. I personally got confused a little bit in the beginning to a whom was talking. The only place i got bored at was the beginning. There was not enough action for me. The book is not really a hard book to read not many big words. There is some weird spellings for names though like brother Jacques sounds like (when pronounced it sounds like Jock. This book is about a freshman guy named Jerry and his troubles through his freshman year for deciding not to participate in the annual chocolate sale.This starts out as a joke (made up by the vigils) not to take the chocolates from Mr Leon,but then he goes to far and causes everyone a great deal of pain. In the end some people would say he got what he deserved.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2008

    reviewed by Zach Driggers of Hewitt Trussville Schools of Fine Arts

    Jerry is a kid that goes to the school, Trinity High. There he tries out and makes the Junior Varsity Football Team as a quarterback. At this school there is a senior named Archie. He is in charge of the secret fraternity named the Vigils. They put together assignments that terrorize the students their mentally. The school is becoming in bad shape, and the annual chocolate sale is coming up. Brother Leon, the school's dean, needs to sell all the chocolate, so he goes for the aid of Archie. Archie assigns Jerry not to sell any chocolate for ten days, then must sell his chocolate after the tenth day. Jerry refuses this demand from the vigils, and does not sale any chocolate. After this other people at the school decide to side with Jerry, and stop selling chocolate. Brother Leon becomes aware of this, and gets the vigils to make Jerry an outcast. They go on to bully him, and have many assorted punishments. However Jerry does not sell any despite the punishments. As the sales fall short, Brother Leon becomes desperate, and sales raffle tickets to a fight at the end of the book.<BR/>This book was amazing I would recommend it to all of those who are oppressed and are looking for inspiration.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Taylor Rector for TeensReadToo.com

    This is a horrifying story about a boy's school where there is literally a chocolate war. <BR/><BR/>A secret society of boys, which the administration has always turned their back on, takes over a school chocolate sale. The boys are all asked to sell fifty boxes at two dollars apiece instead of the normal twenty-five at a dollar. And the leader of the secret society is one of the students who is pushing the sale. And he tells one student to refuse to sell the <BR/>chocolate for ten days, but on the eleventh he is to take them. And he doesn't. <BR/><BR/>This book is interesting, and has a lot of twists and turns. I can see why a lot of schools use this book to teach with. There are a lot of moral lessons and many things that can be learned. I enjoyed reading this, and would recommend it to anyone who has ever had bully problems.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    No mame

    This book is an good book to read on your spare time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2013

    Review originally posted at Bettering Me Up. If I had read this

    Review originally posted at Bettering Me Up.

    If I had read this book a few years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of a group of kids excluding a single student. But times have changed--or social media is allowing for more publicized accounts--and this book is highly relevant in today's culture.

    Even though it's relevant, I didn't like it. Teenagers who torment their fellow classmates. Adults who turn a blind eye or encourage such actions. Kids who don't stand up for their friends.

    Throughout the book, I expected a certain outcome, and I'm disappointed in the one that was delivered instead. Not that it's the wrong ending, but it's not what I wanted; it left me feeling like there was something missing. There is a sequel, and maybe that answers some of my niggling questions, but I have no desire to read the second book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    It was ok

    The Chocolate war by Robert Cormier. This book is a very significant book. It has many twists and turns to it and it like it a lot. It has an ok plot to it too that is very original. The title is stupid though chocolate war. It starts an all catholic high school in about the 1960s. Jerry Renault is a freshman who is trying to play football. But is spotted by a group of boys named the vigils. They run the and cause havoc to teachers and class mates. Archie Castillo is the leader they give out things called assignments you have to do. Jerry is family is so happy to get in to trinity and has a good life until the vigils meet him and his best bud goob. So jerry gets an assignment to not sell in the annual school sale and his principal goes crazy. He starts to get little popular then everyone turns on him. The book has barely any of violence. He does not tell about the characters very well. It was not a book that was exciting but it has its part. The book is ok not great but pretty boring. But it is confusing and he needed explain about things that happened. Like for example he told nothing about jerry's best friend goob. Or about what happened to the principal did he die or is he alive. It does not surprise u at all it is not that good of a book. There is not even a war between any one not even the bullies were really fighting they just intimidate people. I think Robert Cormier could have done a lot better in what he was trying to explain to readers like me but it was ok.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    A Boring Book

    This book is about a boy that plays football at Trinity H.S., named Jerry Renault. There is also a group of boys called the Vigils, which is lead by a bully named Archie Castillo. Jerry was a good kid, until he met the Vigils. Jerry was supposed to sell a bunch of chocolates for his school, but he didn't. Almost the whole school hated him for doing that. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier is an o.k. book. I didn't really like reading it. I thought it was boring most of the time. I didn't really understand the plot of the book either, so that made it worse for me to read. There were some good-ish parts of this book, but not a lot. One part that I Thought was bad was that the author didn't give a good description of the characters. This book was really boring, but it's not too bad. I wouldn't read this book again, for fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    the chocolate war review

    Jerry Reunalt is a freshman at Trinity High School,he also plays for the football team.Jerry is an average kid that mom died and now lives with his dad. Goober is Jerry friend and also plays for the football team. Archie is the vigils leader and basically runs the whole school. When jerry become an outlaw and dont sell the candy,archie and the vigils threaten him. Janza also an freshman beats up Jerry to make him sell the candy. Jerry stands his ground and still doesnt sell the candy. Archie then gives Jerry another shot to get his revenge on Janza, by goin 1 on 1 verses Janza. This book was exiciting from beginning to end.

    What really got me in this novel was when Archie said "this school is divided into two groups victims and victimize". I liked how they put that quote in this book. Another quote was from Jerry when he said "do i disturb the universe or helped it". When he was fighting Janza he figured out that Archie set him up for this, and he caught himself before he became something he's not. He figured by fighting Janza wasnt helping the universe. Archie also said that "this school is all animals,Jerry want revenge, the crowd want to see blood and Janza was just a beast.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2010

    The Chocolate War

    I guess that this book is ok if you like violence. It is really graphic also.The main point of this story is that you do not to go crazy with power. Also to not disobey the rules.I think that you should read this book if you like a book that will tell you what really goes on in schools. You should not read it if you do not like violence or thoughts of kids coursing or getting in trouble at school. this is why I think you should or should not read this book. Also I gave u some facts on it I think you should read this book but that's for you to decide.I did like this book but I don't know if you will. I know that many people did like it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Do I dare disturb the Universe?

    I had the opportunity to read Robert Cormier's "The Chocolate War" in my Freshman english class. This book set off a series of events that lead my to my love of Cormier's insight and knowledge. He is my favorite author because of the wonderful way he writes through pure inspiration (it seems), and it helped me focus my life. "Do I dare disturb the Universe?" is the theme for The Chocolate War, and I encourage all who get a chance to read this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    THE CHOCOLATE WAR, REVIEW BY A SYRACUSIAN BOY :)

    I recommend this book ¿The Chocolate War¿ by Robert Cormier because it is a great novel about life as a high school teenager. The novel takes place in an old Catholic/Army school where characters Archie, Obie, Emile, goober, and Renault are involved in the conflict. The main conflict of the story is the boxes of chocolates Leon wants them to sell for Trinity (the school). Renault refuses to sell the chocolate which causes the school to take action; the Vigils and Archie to take action against Renault by forcing him to sell the chocolates using physical, mental, and verbal attacks.<BR/>Renault is the best character in the book because he has many different perspectives on life. His father became depressed causing him to have no one is his life to depend on. His mother died and he had no friends to support him. He doesn¿t want to be involved with anything at school; and, as a result, he doesn¿t have any friends.<BR/>Archie is the opposite of Renault because he is hungry for power, as Virgil president he is in charge of everything, including assigning jobs, selling chocolates, and torturing brothers. And every one is afraid of Archie because he is superior to all of the student body as the Virgil president.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2008

    MUST READ

    THe Chocolate War by Robert Cormier was a very detailed and descriptive novel with strong thematic points throughout theb book. I have never met a character like Archie Costello with his sharp mind and masterfully planned out assignments. This book was amazing and I think it proves a point about the world. It's no wonder that this book is still being used to teach lessons in schools. I can't wait to read Beyond the Chocolate War next, by Robert Cormier.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    Jerry Renault is a typical high school student who does his best to get by. Until one day when he is asked to do a ¿job¿ for a vicious gang of students known as The Vigils, the gang is run by a heartless and mean senior, Archie Costello. Jerry is pressured into standing up to Brother Leon, another mean and heartless monster, and refusing to sell chocolates in the school sale. The book takes a drastic turn for the worst when Jerry finishes his ¿Job¿ but still refuses to sell chocolate for the school. Jerry is soon known as the outcast of the school instead of the hero that stood up to Brother Leon. What I liked about this book was that it seemed very realistic about what can happen in high school, people you might have to face and what you may have to stand up against, such as bullies and pressure. There was nothing that I found wrong or distasteful in the book. I would recommend this book to others, even though it wasn¿t my favorite book of all time it was defiantly worth it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    For the win (FTW)

    In this story there is a high school under the power of a gang called the Vigils. This gang does plot that attack mentally. One of the plots that do is undo the entire desk and classroom materials in a classroom so when you just touch it, it will all fall part. After that happen the teacher left the school. The way the vigils work is there are people in control that make the plans for some one to do. Before they carry out the plan they have to reach in a black box that has marbles in it if you pull a white you don¿t do and they guy that was picked has too. But if you pick up a black one the guy that made the plan has to do it himself. The leader of the Vigils is Carter the guy that makes the plans is Archie. That is the main people in this gang. During this book there is a big school chocolate sale going on and every one is in it The head master is out sick and a guy named Brother Leon is taking his place. Leon is a messed up guy that black mails people to do his doing for him, one point of the book he blackmails a 'A ' student to be the Treasurer for the Chocolate sale. The Vigils get in on this and help sale the chocolates when one of the guys in the vigils are not selling the chocolate because he just does not want to so a little war goes on. Archie make a big plan on how to sell and make Jerry the guy that is not selling look dumb and left out. Leon bumped up the prices because he took some money from the school and getting it back from the sales. Jerry gets attacked and his locket attacked because he is not selling. People call his home and just laugh and hang up over and over. The Whole book there is mind games going on between people. One of the Mind games is Obis showing up before the fight in the book and making Archie draw from the black box to get pay back but sadly dos not work because he pulls a white two times. Jerry dos not sell the stuff and gets a mind game going on with Leon and after a while it ends from him stop caring and being happy about the people that are selling. Carter takes a picture of Janze with a camera in the bathroom and Janze to get the picture but there is not picture because the camera had not film. Obie plays a mind game with Carter by having the meeting in the gym because he really hates the gym, because of the smell. Janze has one with Jerry by calling him gay and fairy but he was told what to say by Archie. This book is a good book it shows the stuff people go though at school some people know and shows how some people can be so corrupted. I really like this book and I think other people should check this out because you may learn something form this book. I liked how this book went but not the ending though but you can¿t get what you all ways want.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2008

    this is a good book

    Jerry Renault is a student at a prep school called Trinity High school. The first chapter he is dreaming of becoming a quarter back for is high school football team. There is a local school gang called the Vigils, a gang that doesn¿t really engage in violence but mentally harms kids that are not as strong and mentally able to stand up for themselves. The Vigils get a kick out of making fun of people that is the main propose of there gang which is lead by Archie Costello a senior at Trinity High. The vigils sale chocolate at the high school. Jerry new they do this chocolate saleing and his assignment was not to sale the chocolates. One day the vigils come to jerry for an assignment to sale chocolates, jerry says no during the chocolate sale roll call. He did this because there is a poster in his locker that states a comment (Do I dare disturb the universe). Brother Leon stood up to jerry and was outrage that he would say something like this after the 10-day period. A day goes by and jerry is asked to sell again and he still refuses. A couple of days go by and the sales go bad/the teacher brother Leon spent all the money on chocolates/and the vigils and brother Leon start to get more upset and worry that there chocolate saleing organization is done for good. The next day Archie and Leon sit down for a meeting. Archie accuses Leon of sabotaging the assignment. They come to a conclusion that to make jerry an outcast and to make the sales popular. All of a sudden the chocolates are saleing like crazy. While all this is happening the vigils are making jerry¿s life a living hell¿by doing pranks such as prank calls and taken his homework and messing up his locker and finally the vigils made his life such a living hell by getting a gang to beat jerry up after football practice. Finally at the end of the story the school has raffle tickets for a fight between Emile Janza the leader of the vigils and jerry and that turns in to a big disaster. I recommend this book to all students that have gone through stuff in there life. This review has been written by Pierre thank you for reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    The chocolate war

    Jerry Renault goes to Trinity High School. Trinity High is a private school for boys. He is trying out for freshman football. But other things are on his mind when he is playing. Not to long ago Jerry¿s mother died. Him and his dad are not really close like they were. There is a group of guys that are called ¿ The Vigils¿. They are secret group that runs the school and puts pranks on everyone. Archie is second in command of the Vigils, Carter is the leader but doesn¿t do much, and Obie is the secretary. The Vigils love freshman, so they can recruit them and make them do the pranks and they become one of the vigils. When Jerry was practicing on the field Archie and Obie was making a list of assignments for the new Vigils. They really like Jerry and his friend Goober, so they got the assignments. But Goober gets his first. Goober has to unscrew everything in a classroom. Then Jerry gets his, which is to not sell the chocolates. Which brings us to brother Leon. Brother Leon is a teacher, and in control of the school. Brother Leon wants to sell even more chocolates this year. Jerry¿s assignment was only to last for up to 10 days, but he decided not to sell the chocolates on the 11th day. The Vigils found out that Jerry wasn¿t doing what they wanted him to do. So they took drastic measures to fixing him. Then Archie began taunting a guy named Emile Janze. Emile is the meanest guy in the school he loves to beat up kids. Archie wanted Emile to beat up Jerry to make him sell the chocolates. Brother Leon new what was going down, but he wanted his chocolates sold at any cost. But nobody new that Brother Leon took money from the school and didn¿t tell. He new that the chocolate sell wasn¿t doing well, so he told the Vigils to do what they want. Things lead to one another and something bad happened. I really like this book it keeps you on your feet. It¿s hard to get into at first but once you¿re in your stuck till the end. I think that you will like this book as much as I do

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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