Friend's Email: Subject:I have found a book that I think you would enjoy
The Abstinence Teacher (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
The Abstinence Teacher - Audio CD - Unabridged Author:Tom Perrotta, Campbell Scott (Narrator) Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children, but amid its good schools and healthy real estate market, a small-town culture war is brewing. The Abstinence Teacher focuses on two divorced parents who become adversaries in the mess: Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school who believes that "pleasure is good... more », shame is bad, and knowledge is power." Her younger daughter's soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved.
Ruth and Tim instinctively distrust one another, but when a controversy on the playing field forces the two of them to actually talk to each other, an uneasy friendship begins to develop. Elegantly written and with Perrotta's distinctive mix of satire and compassion, The Abstinence Teacher illuminates the powerful emotions that run beneath the placid surface of modern American family life, and explores the complicated spiritual and sexual lives of ordinary people.
The book was well written, and like Jodi Picoult's books, the reader may find themselves siding with characters that may not possess the same values as themselves. However with that said, I was very disappointed in the ending. I felt it just dropped off after a big work up to it.
This book was on my wish list for over a year. It ended up being a disappointment. As another reviewer already mentioned, it ends kind of mid-action, with no resolution whatsoever to the conflict. I wasn't impressed by either of the main characters, who both seemed to have a strong opinion but then throughout the course of the book just kind of watched it float away in the wind. Ruth, the sex-ed teacher, was morally opposed to the abstinence-only program she was forced to teach; I thought that she would rebel against it somehow, championing the student's right to the real facts. However, she just kind of went along with it half-heartedly and, when she was removed from the position, seemed relieved. Tim - the ex-addict-turned-good-Christian - felt strongly about his faith, but when it was really challenged, he just up and decided it wasn't for him any more. Both of these characters were unlikeable wimps. Don't waste your time with this one. If you're interested in Perrotta, read Little Children instead.
Almost halfway through this boring book, I kept thinking, ok, something is just about to happen. By the time I reached the end, I was STILL waiting for something to happen.
This dull & unexciting book would be perfect for those who want to read without thinking, because although it did BRING UP some interesting issues, it never went any further than that with any of them.
Suzanne reviewed The Abstinence Teacher (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Helpful Score: 3
Thought-provoking story of seduction within the modern American culture wars. Which is the most seductive force: freedom, love, Jesus, sex, acceptance, moral superiority, family??? The main characters must decide. The author is careful not to judge and lets the reader decide, too. Loved this book.
The story fluctuates between two characters: 1)Ruth, the high school Sex Ed. teacher who is forced to teach an abstinence only program after the school is pressured to change its curriculum due to a growing faction of religious fanatics and 2) Tim, a former drug addict and alcoholic who is a member of this religious faction (also the coach for Ruth's daughter's soccer team) and his internal struggle with the demons from his former life and coping with the disconnection he is feeling with the religion he feels saved his life. All in all, it was an interesting commentary on sex, religion, and (to a degree) how they mix with public education. This story did pose many interesting points without seeming too preachy or critical, just some interesting things to consider while reading. The downside to this book was the ending. It pretty much just stopped. At first I thought I was missing pages (a recent book I read was missing pages, so it wasn't entirely unlikely), but alas, Perrotta just ends the book mid-scene. As a side-note, although the location of the town is never explicitly mentioned, I figure it is in NJ since all the colleges he refers to are NJ colleges or former names of NJ colleges and since I'm from NJ, I liked that (after finishing the book I GOOGLED Perrotta and he grew up in NJ so it's plausible)! :-P