Larry Buhl's Reviews > The Abstinence Teacher

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
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's review
Jan 19, 2011

liked it
Read in June, 2009

I don't understand some of the vitriol thrown at this book. It is not one of his best works, but not horrible. Perhaps if he didn't have such a reputation people would be a little more generous.

I do agree that he treads lightly on a subject that is highly divisive. I can assume that his editors don't want to turn off a wide swath of readers, but then again evangelical Christians are probably not the target audience for this. So he probably could have taken more chances. I read this a while ago so the plot is a little fuzzy. Or perhaps I'm not remembering it clearly because the plot was somewhat limp. Or a bit of both. I do recall one of the best scenes, when the ex-druggie born again Christian goes to a men's poker game and then defaces one of the cars outside. The scenes with the kids' soccer games did not interest me at all. And the romance between the Christian and the abstinence teacher seemed more of a plot device than something organic. Not as great as Little Children, but not horrible.

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