BOOK REVIEW: The Abstinence Teacher – by Tom Perrotta

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Title: The Abstinence Teacher
Author: Tom Perrotta
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Religion
First published: October 16th 2007
Finished reading: February 21st 2013
Pages: 358

1

“Abstinence is perfectly reasonable in theory,” Gregory said, “It just doesn’t work in practice. It’s like dieting. You can go a day or two, maybe even a week. But eventually that pizza just smells too good.”

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To be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by this book. I know I only started reading it because I didn’t have another book available at the time, but still… This was absolutely disappointing. The lack of imagination and the abuse of cliches made me almost throw my copy of The Abstinence Teacher against the wall. And trust me, I would have felt sorry for the wall. A sex education teacher versus religion, really? Very, very frustrating. The uninspiring and dull writing style wasn’t really helping either, and overall I’m actually surprised I didn’t end up DNFing this novel by Tom Perrotta. This author unfortunately will go to my do-not-read list… In short, this novel was even less than I expected when I started reading it and I would only recommend it to my enemy.

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Ruth Ramsey is a sex education teacher with liberal ideas about how to educate her kids. She believes that knowledge is power, but is then forced to change her approach to an abstinence-only program in which she has to go against all her beliefs. Tim Mason is a former member of various rock bands and addict who was saved by God. Tim now is an active member of The Tabernacle, an evangelical Christian church and he is also Ruth’s younger daughter’s soccer coach. This causes problems when he asks the girls to pray together after a game… Ruth has huge problems with The Tabernacle ever since they criticized her liberal ways of teaching and the school forced her into abstinence. Tim and Ruth mistrust each other, but since her daughter isn’t about to give up soccer and her older daughter actually wants to join the church, Ruth was left no choice and has to talk to Tim… With certain consequences.

finalthoughtsreview

The struggle between Tim and Ruth is almost like a small ‘war’ where rather tacky opposites attract… And that is only one of the many cliches used in this novel. The Abstinence Teacher left me bored and above all frustrated wtih the hours wasted on reading it. I normally don’t enjoy to DNF a novel, but I wish I would have done it with this one. NOT recommended.