2012 Book 141: Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
Reason for Reading:This is my second post for Book Journey’s Banned Books Week 2012 blog tour. By reading banned books, I feel that I’m expressing my freedom of speech (or in this case, the author’s freedom of speech), but I’m also interested in learning more about WHY people ban books. I don’t approve of banning most of the books on ALA’s top banned books lists, though for some of them I can empathize with the objections. In the case of this particular book, I understand the objections, though I think banning it only gives the book added attention. Blood and Chocolate is #57 on the ALA’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books 2000-2009.
Vivian is a 15-year-old werewolf living happily with her pack in the country when a murder destroys the world she loves. In tragic disarray, her pack moves to the suburbs and tries to get reorganized. In the midst of this chaos, Vivian has an identity crisis and falls for a human “meat-boy.” Her experiences trying to fit in with meat-people teaches her a lot about herself. Meanwhile, the grisly murders continue, and the pack must hunt down the killers before they, themselves, become hunted. This book was very engaging. It was interesting and suspenseful enough that I really wanted to know how it ended, despite the fact that I disliked all the characters. Vivian was manipulative and conceited. Her mother had little character other than expressing concern for her daughter and being obsessed with sex. Vivian’s meat-boy boyfriend seemed likable enough at first (though not particularly alluring), but then his qualities took a nose-dive towards the end of the book. Honestly, I’m not sure why this book gets such good reviews, but I suppose it’s simply because the narrative is so engaging.
My feelings about why this book was banned
I had the feeling while reading Blood and Chocolate that Klause intended this book to be a slap in the face to prudish book-banners. For me, that took a lot of the enjoyment out of the book because I felt like I was being beat over the head with a Message. Even if I agree with the Message, I think a novel’s MAIN objective should be to tell a story. If the story is told well, the message comes through in a smooth allegory. This book seemed like Klause was going for shock-value to pump up her sales. The reason I believe that this slap-in-the-face was purposeful and not simply part of the story is because Klause included a conversation between Vivian and her boyfriend about adults that objected to certain types of behavior and wanted to burn his books.
Klause included almost all of the qualities that our book-banners of America hate: explicit sexualization of everything, the occult, disrespect for religious symbols, obscenties, violence, age-inappropriate relationships, and an entire page musing about different ways to commit suicide. None of this was bad enough to scar a child or young teen. However, I feel she REALLY overdid it with the sexualization. You’d think from this book that the defining characteristic of werewolves is that they were unabashedly and continuously horny. This seems to be the defining trait of teen-aged boys and middle-aged men as well ;). It was a bit obnoxious. The randiness of every character was SO overdone that it distracted from the story. So in the end, no, I don’t think this is subversive literature. But I have no respect for Klause’s ability to portray a message with finesse.
10 thoughts on “Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause”
I haven't read this, but from your review I gather the author was shocking just to be shocking? Bleh. That would be distracting you are right. Is this a movie too? I can't remember but I thought I heard it was. If so, I can't imagine what it would be like! Lol.
This isn't a book I'm familiar with. It's too bad that the author felt the need to hit people over the head with shocking elements. Subtlety is a much better way to go, in my little opinion anyway!
I'm curious to read reviews about books that have been banned. The only book “ban” we know in The Netherlands, is in the prohibition of reprinting Mein Kampf. So, for the Dutch, book banning is not such a big issue.
Nevertheless, it IS important that we continue reading books that have been destroyed or taken away in another way from the reading public.
Hah, it is indeed unfortunate that Klause felt the need to shock people, by taking some… things too far. Good novels don't need overdoing!
New one to me but interesting! Thanks for being a part of banned book week!
Thanks for stopping by everyone!
Quixotic Magpie and Jennifer: Yes, she way overdid it. Of course, I DO tend to be a bit overly-frustrated by lack-of-subtlety, so it might not annoy other people as much as it annoyed me. I've never been a fan of reading the author's ax-grinding. 🙂
Chinoiseries: I've been discussing this on LibraryThing a lot recently. Banning books like this seems to be a US phenomenon in the Western world. :)Too many religious fundamentalists around!
Sheila: thanks for organizing this! It's fun to have a group to do this with, though I'd do it on my own too. 🙂
Such an interesting and thought provoking post, I would have thought this being a novel about werewolves would have been enough to ban it in the eyes of the narrow minded individuals who seek to ban books.
I haven't read this yet though I have been curious about it. Thanks for your review
Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
Petty Witter: You're probably right about werewolves being enough, but apparently that wasn't enough for Klause. 😉
Shelleyrae: Don't let my review completely deter you from it. There are many who loved this book. As I said in an earlier comment, I tend to get really annoyed at ax grinding in books. 🙂
Hey, stumbled on your review via the R.I.P. page. I too read this book and didn't like it. It was soo much sex! Not even good sex. Just lots of randiness. The characters couldn't think about the plot due to all the internal dialogue of sexuality. I also agree, poorly done…
SaraO: Haha. I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that. It was a great distraction from the plot, wasn't it? It would have been a good story if she'd stuck to the story!