I’m reading a banned book called The Chocolate War and written by Robert Cormier.
First published in 1974, this young adult novel was on the American Library Association’s list for banned books at one time. The young adult classic earned this label due to its language, use of intimidation by high school students and the main male character’s sexual thoughts.
The Chocolate War was very disturbing. I actually found the sexual element to be very minor. The book was more about youth with no strong moral compass and a particular teacher with power and control issues.
One of the central characters has a father who is self-absorbed in his own pain and unable to lend much support to his son’s hurting spirit.
That leads to the young man being vulnerable to a school clique that is known as The Vigils. The Vigils are led and manipulated by a charismatic young man who gets them to do acts of vandalism and vio-lence. The climax situation of the book is heart wrenching!
The book saddened me.
The story’s intensity and the bullying brought back ugly memories. I’m glad that I can look at those days in another light. On the other hand, I still feel that something was stolen from me years ago.

Linda Rosenthal (Oct.’20) adds, “Bill and I are likely going to end up in New Mexico or Arizona this year for winter travels.”

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