I think we are all aware o the moral plight by book banners to remove works that contain subjects or subtext that they feel might be offensive, but none know the backlash better than author Robert Cormier. The Chocolate War, a young adult novel about boy challenging authority and the wrong he encounters, is on one of many on the Most Frequently Challenged book list. The story that follows this teen around isn’t pretty, yet it’s relevant and an amazing read.

A press release drafted by the ALA (American Library Association) sites the 2004 banning of this book and describes the reasoning as follows: “Robert Cormier’s “The Chocolate War” tops the list of most challenged books of 2004, according to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom.   The book drew complaints from parents and others concerned about the book’s sexual content, offensive language, religious viewpoint and violence. This year marks the first in five in which the Harry Potter series does not top or appear on the ALA’s annual list.” Read More

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ABOUT The Chocolate War

Stunned by his mother’s recent death and appalled by the way his father sleepwalks through life, Jerry Renault, a New England high school student, ponders the poster in his locker-Do I dare disturb the universe?

Part of his universe is Archie Costello, leader of a secret school societ-the Virgils-and master of intimidation.  Archie himself is intimidated by a cool, ambitious teacher into having the Virgils spearhead the annual fund-raising event-a chocolate sale.  When Jerry refuses to be bullied into selling chocolates, he becomes a hero, but his defiance is a threat to Archie, the Virgils, and the school.  In the inevitable showdown, Archie’s skill at intimidation turns Jerry from hero to outcast, to victim, leaving him alone and terribly vulnerable.

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ABOUT Robert Cormier

Robert Edmund Cormier (January 17, 1925–November 2, 2000) was an American author, columnist and reporter, known for his deeply pessimistic, downbeat literature. His most popular works include I Am the Cheese, After the First Death, We All Fall Down and The Chocolate War, all of which have won awards. The Chocolate War was challenged in multiple libraries. His books often are concerned with themes such as abuse, mental illness, violence, revenge, betrayal and conspiracy. In most of his novels, the protagonists do not win.

 

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