The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

Ruth Ramsey is the Sex Ed teacher at a local high school. She firmly believes that providing kids with a strong knowledge of safe sex practices will result in them coming to mature decisions. Knowledge is power, after all. When the local evangelical church The Tabernacle begins to intervene in the school curriculum, Ruth decides to take a stand. The church is pushing abstinence only education that has been proven not to work. Ruth finds herself facing the decision to follow her values or tow the line and teach something she does not believe in. 

Tim Mason has been saved. Before joining The Tabernacle, he was a drug addict who abandoned his wife and daughter to get his fix. Since finding religion, he's remarried, joined the church band, and coaches his daughters soccer team. Life is pretty good. When the soccer team pulls off an upset to make their way to the league championships, Tim spontaneously bows his head to offer a prayer with the girls. This seemly innocent gesture turns to controversy when another parent, Ruth Ramsey, takes objection to Tim "pushing his religion" on her daughter.

The Abstinence Teacher sees Tom Perrotta explore spirituality, sexuality, and the balance between the two in a family drama that both entertains and inspires. While the novel is rooted firmly in the "modern time" of its publication year (2007), it manages to be surprisingly relevant to discussions that are happening today. It is interesting that 10 years later, we are still debating the ideals of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Perrotta's writing is, at times, vibrant and compelling. Other times he grows a bit heavy handed, especially when proclaiming the novel's moral takeaways. Despite some shortcomings, The Abstinence Teacher focuses on topics that continue to be worthy of discussion and debate. It won't stand as one of my favorite reads this year, but it did inspire me to reflect on our current political climate.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2017, 41)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 and is filed under ,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

2 Responses to “The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta ”

  1. I was thinking based on the topic this was a current release, then saw you mention 2007. Yes, in 10 years we have made very little progress on these topics. Great review.

    1. Agreed. He does have a release from this year that I'm eager to get my hands on. I'm interested to see his take on our current cultural situation.


Powered by Blogger.