The Abstinence Teacher
â€œPerrotta is that rare combination: a satirist with heartâ€¦.Those who havenâ€™t curled up on the couch with this writerâ€™s books are missing a very great pleasure.â€â€”Seattle Times
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children: itâ€™s got good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. Parents in the town are involved in their childrenâ€™s li
Tommy, Tommy, Tommy! How did such a promising young literary stud like yourself turn out to be such an emasculated whore? When did things start to go so horribly, horribly wrong?
Let me be clear. When I picked you up at the airport in San Francisco, it was with entirely clear-eyed, realistic expectations. Let's face it. I wasn't looking for the literary love of my life. Just a two-plane romance - enough to while away the time it takes to get from SFO to M ...more
I went to the theater but it was packed, so I opted out, went to a coffee shop and read Perrotta's book, which I finished this morning. Really bad. If you haven't read it yet, I wouldn't bother. There was something that bothered me about Little Children that I couldn't put my finger on until now. Perrotta is trying to be the moralist of suburbia, ...more
As I've mentioned here a couple of times before, I've recently become a fairly big fan of movie-friendly author Tom Perrotta; for example, I found his breakthrough 2006 novel Little Children to be a surprisingly complex and subtle look at just what a horrific place the suburbs can be to some people, a stifling environm ...more
The Abstinence Teacher is a pretty solid near-three-star read from Tom Perrotta, though I thought he really could've gone a lot farther with his observations on the rift between the religious right and the secular left. It does, though, serve as an ideal warm-up to his (in my opinion) much more fully realized The Leftovers.
Though this 2007 release seems slightly dated, Perrotta's core societal perceptions are just as salient today as they were ten years ago. His protagonist Ruth Ramsey ...more
That said, I have some issues with his latest, The Abstinence Teacher. The book is about a woman named Ruth, a sex ed teacher in Suburbville, USA, who sparks a controversy by responding to a question b ...more
I'm rather Tom Perrotta-obsessed. I've been known to babble on about him...over and over and over again.
I was really excited for this book to come out. I loved the concept of Ruth, a Human Sexuality teacher, being called into question for something innocent, a casual remark, and how the hyper-Christian population attacked her like she had horns and had the middle name Lucifer. And the connection between Tim, her daughter's born-again soccer coach, and Ruth are great. The scene where Ruth re ...more
It started off with the health teacher and it seemed to be progre ...more
Tom Perrotta and I have two things in common: New Jersey roots and novels about sex education; his latest work, The Abstinence Teacher is the only other novel, besides my own, The Sex Ed Chronicles, that I have read which covers a subject that is still considered taboo in some social circles.
The Abstinence Teacher has two main characters: Ruth Ramsey, a divorcee’ and high school sex educator who makes one inappropriate comment too many, drawing th ...more
Where I am now: characters are stock characters, so am assuming the point is not character or character development, but some larger point about our culture and its issues about the roles of sexuality and religion.
A parent is shocked/distressed that their child's health ed (sex ed) teacher says that some people like oral sex (and, presumably, not so happy that the teachers flips ...more
Perrotta tries his best to present both sides of the religious debate as equally valid, but his heart really isn't in it (not that I blame him). While none of the religious characters come off as complete left-wing stereotypes, none of them come off lo ...more
Ugh, no the more I think about it the more annoyed I am at having this clunky, unsatisfying story in my brain.
I thought the book would be more focussed on the abstinence teacher's struggles with her sex ed curriculum, but that wasn't really the focus of the book at all. It starts the book off, and produce ...more
This novel should be called The Convert or The Convert Awaiting His Chance to Backslide rather than The Abstinence Teacher since the title The Abstinence Teacher misleadingly suggests that the implementation of an "abstinence only" sex education program, its effect on the students, and the battle about the programs in community would be the subject.
In interviews the auth ...more
I finished The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta a couple of weeks ago, so this review is far from fresh. The basic premise involves a high school sex ed teacher, Ruth, who innocently explains to a student that oral sex can be pleasurable and safe. The Christian conservatives in the town set out on a witch hunt to silence Ruth and implement abstinence only education in the school system. A few weeks later Ruth meets Tim, o ...more
Each main character can be acc ...more
Unfortunately, it wasn't. The dialogue was stilted (and sometimes stupid) and after a few witty introductory pages, the premise quickly seemed to veer away from what I assumed the novel to be about. There was little subtlety in the way the characters were written, and I just stopped caring. Maybe I'm spoiled because I've been read ...more