The Abstinence Teacher, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A sharp, funny and beautifully observed satire about the disturbing influence of the Christian right from one of America's most cherished authors.

Ruth Ramsey went too far. She hadn't noticed the changing climate. A Sex Ed teacher 'championing' oral sex!? Not now, not in this America...Cherished by her high school pupils as someone who'd tell it straight, after one innocent classroom indiscretion Ruth suddenly finds the curriculum she has taught for nigh on 15 years worryingly out of vogue.

As the scandal flares up and attracts the unwelcome eye of the local evangelical Church, the appeasing high-school principal forces her into advocating a pro-abstinence agenda in the classroom that is at odds with all conventional wisdom.

But jaded though she is by her recent divorce and fruitless search for a new love, Ruth is determined that the values she grew up with will not be sacrificed to Puritanism.

It is a syllabus change which should be considered a victory by Tim Mason - recovering addict, local football coach and recent convert to the same plaintiff Church - but his new found faith is constantly put to the test by the temptations of his former life. When he makes the gesture of leading his football team in prayer after a hard-fought victory, in which Ruth's daughter Maggie starred, he manages not only to incur the wrathful attention of her mother, but to cement his position as the star evangelist of his church - an office he is none too sure about occupying.

Scathing, witty and brilliantly observed,'The Abstinence Teacher' is a cutting portrayal of modern America and the influence of the Christian right from the acclaimed, bestselling author of 'Election' and 'Little Children'.




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Another book that I'm unlikely to have discovered without LibraryThing, which I really enjoyed. Ruth Ramsey is a sexual education teacher, whose frankness lands her in trouble with local right-wing Christians. Tim Mason is a former addict whose welcome into the local church has helped him turn his life around. Circumstances bring them into conflict, and this conflict brings to light many of the interesting (and sometimes disconcerting) aspects of American society today. I liked the nuanced portrayals of characters here, and the thought-provoking hints of the shades of grey that can lie beneath the surface of such debates.

Review by

Interesting. A book that I never felt I couldn't put down, but was always drawn to. A tale of Tim, an ex junkie and alcaholic and Ruth, a sex education teacher. There lives become entwinned via the local soccer team against a background of religion and 'finfing' themselves. An enjoyable read, but not exactly a life changer.

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