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Banned Book Review: The Chocolate War

October 13, 2005

4.  The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Reason:  Offensive language

There is a school of thought that is off the belief that all children’s books, even those intended for teens, should be nothing but sweetness and light.  Good characters should never cuss or think about sex and bad characters should always get what is coming to them.  This book is nothing like that.  It is hard and dirty.  It describes the forces of peer pressure, the manipulation of a secret society, and the sexual doubts and confusions of teenage males.  The characters cuss, spit, beat each other, treat each other like lesser creatures, and masturbate.  They also feel grief, struggle with desire for a stranger, and constantly test their loyalties to each other and their school.  In other words, they act like teenage boys.  The cussing got this book banned.  The story behind the cussing keeps this book on the reading lists.  Recommended for “young adult” readers.  I’d be inclined to put this at 8th grade and up.

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