The Chocolate War, not so sweet

Imani Whyte, Staff Writer

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is a novel about a teenage boy, Jerry Renault, who defies the authority of his school by not engaging in a chocolate sale. The novel has underlying themes of nonconformity and rebellion.  The book was banned because of its excessive violence, sexual content, and profanity. 

While I don’t necessarily believe in banning books, I will argue that this book was not an enjoyable read. I understand that since I, a teenage girl, was not the target audience for the novel, I may not recognize the appeal. Nevertheless, The Chocolate War submits to the “women are objects”  rhetoric that many other novels written by men also do. 

There were gratuitous descriptions of young girls’ bodies that were disturbing. Women in this novel are only seen as sexual conquests and serve no real purpose in the novel. It honestly would be much better if women didn’t appear in the novel at all. However, that isn’t the only grievance I have with the book.  

The Chocolate War has simplistic prose which makes it digestible for almost any reader, but it made a relatively short read unbearably tedious. The disjointed writing at first built suspense, but it quickly caused me to lose interest, and I felt like the book had parts missing. I had no connection to the characters, and I was not particularly moved by the events of the novel even when the protagonist was in danger. The Chocolate War simply failed to draw me in.