book cover of The Abstinence Teacher
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The Abstinence Teacher

(2007)
A novel by

 
 
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children: it has 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 - coaching sports, driving carpool, taking an interest in their development at every level. The Abstinence Teacher focuses on two divorced parents who each play key roles in the lives of other people's children: Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school who believes that “pleasure is good, 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. Tim is a member of The Tabernacle, the local evangelical Christian church that wants to take its message outside the doors of its own sanctuary, and sees a useful target in Ruth Ramsey. Adversaries in a small-town culture war, 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.

The Abstinence Teacher
illuminates the powerful emotions that run beneath the placid surface of modern family life, and explores the complicated spiritual and sexual lives of ordinary people. Elegantly and simply written, the book has the distinctive mix of satire and compassion readers have responded to in Perrotta's other novels.

Genre: Literary Fiction

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