This is War . . . Chocolate War

True confession:

I have never read The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

Or, if I have, I’ve forgotten it. Also? Sometimes I get it confused with another book I haven’t read, A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

I’ll give you all a moment to recover from that.

Back? You OK? Need a glass of water?

Talking about this with Kelly Jensen of Stacked and Leila Roy of Bookshelves of Doom led to the obvious:

I needed to share my secret shame with the world, and I needed to fix it and finally read The Chocolate War.

And as long as we were going to do this, why not make it a thing?

So, it’s now a thing, with a graphic and everything!

Come join The Chocolate War : A Read & Blog Along from May 12 to May 19. Of course, there is a hashtag: #ChocWarRA

I’m still not sure what exactly I’ll be doing that week. Perhaps my chapter by chapter reader’s response, like I did with Frankenstein? Maybe a review of The Chocolate War and it’s sequel, Beyond the Chocolate War? Maybe a review of the 1988 film, which stars the other guy from Weird Science.

Join us! Pretty much, pick anything something how related to The Chocolate War. Like me, read it for the first time; or reread it and see if it’s what you remember. Of maybe look at books that reference The Chocolate War, like Leslie Stella’s Permanent Record. You get the idea.

Kelly and Leila are also blogging about this. This is open to everyone; hopefully this post is early enough to give you time to read the blog and plan a post. We’ll also have posts that you can leave a comment to link to your posts.

Hope to see your posts in May!


11 thoughts on “This is War . . . Chocolate War

  1. I’ve never read The Chocolate War either. Looks like now’s the perfect time to catch up. Thanks for putting together the Read/Blog Along!


  2. “The Chocolate War” saved my life. As a young adult In the 70s I found little to read that spoke directly to me. In my part of the Midwest children’s libraries were still dominated by stories written of girl Candy Stripers. Boys in books had all the fun. I can’t recall how I came upon TCW, but it was a revelation. Finally, a book that honestly depicted how cruel and sadistic young people and some teachers could be. I knew this from personal experience, and until Cormier I never saw it depicted in a story written for someone my age (I didn’t read “Catcher in the Rye” until I was in my 20s, and I didn’t think was written for teens). TCW quickly lead me to all the new “Young Adult” books that were being published then, more books that were honest about the challenges of being a young person. I regret that I never wrote to Mr. Cormier to thank him. When I finally scraped enough courage to do so, I discovered that he’d passed away two years before.

    I met a Newberry Award winner at a writers’ conference. When I declared my love for TCW, she hissed that it was cynical and nihilistic, and that it would fade out of print in ten years. That was 21 years ago. I don’t personally know anyone who’s read her book with the shiny medal on the cover. But I know lots of people who have read, and reread, “The Chocolate War.”


  3. I read The Chocolate War while in library school. Didn’t enjoy it at all. Definitely don’t want to revisit it. But I like MM’s comment — I do believe every book has its reader, and I’m glad MM found it at the right time for them. It’s a great book, and I’m glad I HAVE read it. But I never intend to read it again! Still, it will be fun to see your reaction and see if I remember it as well as I thought I did. Will you find a glimmer of hope in the story?


    1. I second Sondy’s sentiments. I read ChocWar in library school and did not enjoy it at all. But I am glad the book is on library shelves for readers like MM and glad it had such a profound effect on MM. Sometimes I am tempted to read “Beyond the Chocolate War” in hopes that it will have the glimmer of hope absent from its predecessor, but I am scared to. …scared it will be equally bleak.


      1. Amy, if you didn’t like “The Chocolate War,” you definitely wouldn’t like its sequel, resist temptation.


  4. Wow, your English teachers clearly, CLEARLY did not go to the same school mine did – this was on every reading list for like, forever. I’ll be intrigued to see you read through it – it always makes me weep a little. We don’t have “mean boy” books anymore, in a way. Wonder why?


  5. Annie and Brandy, yay, I’m not the only one who hasn’t read this. I hope you join us!
    MM, this makes me more excited about reading it.
    Eileen, I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t remember everything I’ve read.
    Sondy, oh, true, we can think something is well done but not necessarily want to revisit it or enjoy it.
    Amy, now I wonder what side of the fence I’ll fall on: with you and Eileen or with MM?
    tanita, I don’t remember much YA being on the to-read lists.


  6. I just recently read The Chocolate War for my YA Lit class with @ProfessorNana. I cried quite a bit. Makes me shiver how cruel people are.(Yes, yes! I know it’s a book, but to me reading it felt real). Definitely looking forward to joining in!


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