Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Abstinence Teacher - Tom Perrotta

This book was excellent. A short synopsis of the book is that it is about Ruth, a sex-ed teacher who is forced to teach abstinence based curriculum (even though she does not believe in it) and Tim, a recovering drug-addict who is also a born again Christian and coaches Ruth's daughter's soccer team. It all comes to blows when Tim prays with the girls at the end of one game and some of the parents are not happy about it. There is a lot more to the book but I am terrible at reviews.

I liked the book being from Ruth and Tim's very different points of view. It made it less one sided and more interesting. The idea of teaching only an abstinence based curriculum was so interesting because it has been in the spotlight the last few years (especially in America with George Bush). My personal opinion is that teenagers deserve to have all the facts even if some people do not agree with them. It was interesting that Ruth had to give the kids information that she knew was not totally true - just used as a scare tactic to make kids not have sex (even though she knew that wasn't going to work and they were still going to do it anyway just without the correct info on contraception!). She was a strong smart woman but just didn't want to lose her job.

Tim was a sad and lost character. He didn't seem to really believe in the things he was saying - but he sure did want to believe in them. He was trying to change his life any way he could and church seemed to sort him out and change his life for the better. But as you will see when you read the book (and you better read it!!) sometimes people just want to believe even when it is not right for them.

I have never read any of Tom Perrotta's books before. I had seen the movies Little Children (which I really liked) and Election (which I didn't) and really didn't know what to expect with this one. I am certainly glad I read it and would encourage others to do so as well!

Rating - 4

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