Sarah's Reviews > The Abstinence Teacher

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
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May 11, 08

bookshelves: general-fiction
Recommended for: Laura, Lynne, Toni
Read in May, 2008

The story unfolds...It sounds like such a cliche but that truly is the best way to describe this absorbing read. Perrota does an excellent job of reeling the reader in, slowly disclosing background information and details about the main characters, all the while allowing the story to be told. Perrota never hints at his own personal position on the controversial issues raised by this novel (i.e. educating high school students about abstinence, public prayer, Christianity.) Both of the main characters are deeply flawed so there is no clean cut division of good and evil. Instead, the players are wholly believable and human, the issues cloudy and multi-faceted. The story begins slowly, alternating its focus between Ruth and Tim. As the tempo picks up the passages about each character become increasingly brief, almost as though the two are pitted against each other in a boxing ring. Two caveats: First, Perrota is overly fond of the hyphen to the point where I found it distracted my reading of the novel. The second problem is that the story seems to end so abruptly. There is a terrific build-up, a crescendo, then bam! it's over. Huh? This is not to say that some of the loose ends weren't tied up. they were, it is just that the rapid ending did not jive with the style and pacing of the rest of the novel. Overall, engrossing and well-executed.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Toni (new)

Toni Excellent review - I really have a feel for what this book is. Thank you!


Sarah Why, thank you, ma'am!


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