02 June 2009

The Chocolate War BY Robert Cormier

Let me start by saying congratulations to UW for winning the 2009 WCWS in Oklahoma in 2 games over Florida!!! WOOHOO!!! Good job HUSKIES!!!

rating: 1 of 5 stars
I got this book while working at the Mesquite Library. It seems to be a high school book, but I don't really remember if we read it at my high school or not. I chose to read this while waiting for my copy Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes to come in at the library. It is a small short book, so I figured I would read it quick, but it took forever! Almost a month, actually. Ironically, I did finish it right about the time my sisterchicks book came it. I don't normally allow myself to write spoilers, but I don't recommend anyone I know read this book, so I don't care this time!


The book starts off introducing a lot of characters very quickly. This alone was a bit confusing to me. Maybe my brain was never completely into reading this book. I did not like this book at all. I had to force myself to finish it just because I hate leaving books unfinished. At one point, it did start to get a little more interesting, but then I really didn't like the ending or the overall themes and really did have to force myself to finish it.

The location of the story is Trinity, an all boys Catholic school. The main character would be Jerry. He has recently lost his mother and his father is not dealing with it, therefore unable to help Jerry deal with it. So, Jerry, a freshman, decides to put everything into making the football team. Then you have Archie, the assigner for the Vigils (Trinity's gang), who is about as evil and cunning as they come, for teenage boys. There is also Brother Leonard, the stand-in headmaster running the show while the headmaster is unable to do so. The story revolves around the annual chocolate sale. Which because of the evil Brother Leonard's choice, is now double the usual...double the quantity, double the price of each box!

Jerry is assigned to not sell the chocolates for so many days. After the assignment ends, he decides to continue refusing to sell the chocolates. He is taking a stand. This is about the best thing in this book, the courage of one boy to not conform and to stand out on his own. Well, Jerry's decision is hailed as a great, in the beginning. That is, until Brother Leonard starts freaking out that the chocolate sale is not going well. He can not afford this sale to not succeed. Enter Archie, who enjoys nothing more than playing with the minds of everyone at Trinity. In the end, he has the Vigils selling all the chocolates but those assigned to Jerry. Then, he sets Jerry up in a fight with another student that Archie has been messing with for years. Here all the students are gathered at the football field buying into a raffle where they write down what punch they want thrown and who they want to throw the punch, this is how the fight is to go down, step by step! With the third draw, which is read off before realizing that it is a low blow, which is illegal, and causes the fight to reel out of control. Just as chaos breaks out with the students about chanting for Jerry's death, the lights go out. The teachers have arrived. Just in time, too...Jerry is about dead. They get him off to the hospital. The story ends with Archie and Brother Leonard celebrating in their own ways for the successes of thier evilness!

Another thing that was very bothersome in this book isn't the fact that there really isn't any female characters of importance. It's that the women spoken of, in any way, are used as sexual beings. Meaning that the only purpose of women is for the pleasure of men, whether the men are alone or not! I will not go into any further details there, as I'm sure you are all smart enough to know what it means!

Needless to say, I am glad to be done with this book and I do not recommend it to anyone! Originally there were a few pages I had noted for quotes, but looking through them now, there really isn't anything worth mentioning. Except maybe, "Do I dare disturb the universe?" A very important question, I think...do we dare NOT conform? I would hope we all would, at some point, stand for ourselves and not because we are told or taught a certain way. Isn't that what free agency is about?!

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