The Abstinence Teacher
By Tom Perrotta
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312358334, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 16, 2007
List Price: $24.95*
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Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise kids. It's got the proverbial good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. It's the kind of place where parents are involved in their children's lives, where no opportunity for enrichment goes unexplored.
Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school. She believes that "pleasure is good, shame is bad, and knowledge is power." Ruth's 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. Tim belongs to The Tabernacle, an evangelical Christian church that doesn't approve of Ruth's style of teaching. And Ruth in turn doesn't applaud The Tabernacle's mission to take its message outside its doors. Adversaries in a small-town culture war, Ruth and Tim instinctively mistrust each other. But when a controversy on the soccer field pushes the two of them to actually talk to each other, they are forced to take each other at something other than face value.
The Abstinence Teacher exposes the powerful emotions that run beneath the surface of modern American family life and explores the complex spiritual and sexual lives of ordinary people. Elegantly written, it is characterized by the distinctive mix of satire and compassion that have animated Perrotta's previous novels.
Tom Perrotta is the author of five previous works of fiction: Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Election, and the New York Times bestsellers Joe College and Little Children. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
"He's the Steinbeck of suburbia."—Time "A finely wrought novel."—Jerry Eberle, Booklist “Perrotta is that rare combination: a satirist with heart….Those who haven’t curled up on the couch with this writer’s books are missing a very great pleasure.”—Seattle Times “Tom Perrotta is a truth-telling, unshowy chronicler of modern-day America.”—The New York Times Book Review "Ruefully humorous and tenderly understanding of human folly: the most mature, accomplished work yet from this deservedly bestselling author."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) "Rife with Perrotta’s subtle and satiric humor."--Publishers Weekly