TBR: The Abstinence Teacher

This week’s book is a novel, Tom Perrotta’s latest, The Abstinence Teacher.  Like Little Children, the pleasure of this book is mostly how Perrotta captures the realities of daily suburban life.  In this one, the characters are a little older, on their second marriages, wondering whether it’s possible to connect with their teenage children.  Perrotta occasionally loses his lightness of touch and relies on crude stereotypes (the stay at home mother who used to be a biomedical researcher working on autoimmune disorders but now is "playing a lot of tennis") but mostly his characters are both believable and likable.

The plot of the book on first glance is ripped from the headlines — a sex ed teacher forced to teach an "abstinence" curriculum that she doesn’t believe in, a soccer coach who causes waves by praying with his players.  But Perrotta doesn’t really do much with the plot — it’s just an excuse to spend some time exploring the two main characters and what makes them tick.

In some ways it’s a slight book,  but I was sufficiently engrossed in it that I missed my stop on the train coming home this evening. 

One Response to “TBR: The Abstinence Teacher”

  1. vanessa Says:

    As a sex ed teacher (for a UU Church) I really enjoyed this book. I also found it frustrating because even the mention of abstienence “eduation” pisses me off…I also heard Perotta read from it/discuss it at Politics and Prose, and he was great. I remember him talking about how he was suprised to find a variety of Christian sex manuals in his research.

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