Select one of the keywords
The Abstinence Teacher    by Tom Perrotta order for
Abstinence Teacher
by Tom Perrotta
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD

Read an Excerpt

*   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Ruth happily teaches Health and Family Life until one of her students misquotes her, and her career goes downhill from there. Tim is a recovering alcoholic/drug abuser who has found God and is Ruth's daughter's soccer coach. When Ruth discovers Tim praising God with his team after they have won, the fireworks begin.

Author Perrotta brings up many good questions: What should high school sex education be? How should schools and society deal with the demands of the Christian Right? Can a recovering addict lead a traditional lifestyle? What is a traditional lifestyle?

He also writes very well and wittily. The love that Ruth and Tim have for their children comes across beautifully. But these are people whose lives are pretty empty; they are not living with gusto. And, sad to say, with the exception of Pastor Dennis, the peripheral characters are very flat.

The novel's title suggests the book will be about Ruth, but it is Tim's dilemma that is fleshed out, and there is no conclusion. If a book is supposed to be entertaining or to help us understand something we may not have known before, The Abstinence Teacher is a disappointing read.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews