Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who knew that refusing to sell chocolates could be so dangerous?

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Interesting Facts:
This book was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and it was also released as a movie in 1988.  However, it is important to note that the movie ends very differently than the book.

About the Book:
Readers will be surprised at the intense emotions that are evoked from reading this book which revolves around a school chocolate sale. Something that seems so innocent sets off a storm of chaos.  The story is set in a Catholic private school which happens to be governed by Father Leon and a school gang called "The Vigils."  Father Leon recruits The Vigil leader, Archie, to support and promote the school's chocolate sale.  The Vigils tend to prey on less powerful students and forces them to carry out assignments. Jerry Renult's assigned task is to refuse to sell chocolates for a certain amount of time.  When this time is over, Jerry continues to refuse the chocolates which upsets The Vigils because they view this as a sign of defiance against their authority. As a result, Jerry becomes the sole target of The Vigils' hatred and they begin to unleash a fury of evil upon him.  Jerry begins to feel that there is no way out of this mess and readers will definitely share his desperateness.  Will Jerry cave into their demands or will he continue to stand up for what he thinks is right?   Even though no one has ever beaten the system that The Vigils have established, can Jerry manage to escape it?  How far will The Vigils go to get what they want and just how much can they really get away with?

Personal Thoughts:
I could not put this book down! As I read it, I felt as if I were on an emotional roller coaster at times feeling depressed and at others just outright angry. Sometimes I would forget that the characters were fictional and that there was nobody to actually confront about the matter. I was also reminded of the many young adults who have been victims of bullies. This book identifies bullies, their supporters, victims, and silent onlookers.  It is a story that all must read, whether they have been victims of bullies or not.

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