The Abstinence Teacher Gets An ‘A’ In My Grade Book
Tom Perrotta and I have two things in common: New Jersey roots and novels about sex education; his latest work, The Abstinence Teacher is the only other novel, besides my own, The Sex Ed Chronicles, that I have read which covers a subject that is still considered taboo in some social circles.
The Abstinence Teacher has two main characters: Ruth Ramsey, a divorcee’ and high school sex educator who makes one inappropriate comment too many, drawing the ire of the evangelical Tabernacle church and its hell for leather Pastor Dennis, and Tim Mason, a former stoner and rock n’ roller, also divorced, turned born-again Christian and doting soccer dad. Tim is struggling to stay along the straight and narrow path, as defined for him by the very same evangelical leader who torments Ruth.
The descriptions of Ruth and Tim’s mental conflicts are fascinating. They are both searching for self-worth through someone else. Since their divorces, Ruth and Tim’s lives have taken divergent paths, but each believes that they have lost something that one might call faith. They are both...