Customer Reviews for

The Abstinence Teacher

Average Rating 3.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Good Book, Let-Down Ending

The book is about a divorced sex-ed teacher who runs up against some evangelical Christians who do not like the way she teaches her class. It's a pitched battle - that she loses. She is forced to teach abstinence.

Meanwhile, her daughter plays on a soccer team coach...
The book is about a divorced sex-ed teacher who runs up against some evangelical Christians who do not like the way she teaches her class. It's a pitched battle - that she loses. She is forced to teach abstinence.

Meanwhile, her daughter plays on a soccer team coached by one of the evangelicals. A former rock band guy who's a recovering addict. He's married to one of the flock and unhappy. He's fighting to stay sober and wondering whether the "Godly" life is truly for him.

The main characters intersect and, of course, there is a romantic tension between them. It's not acted upon during the course of the book, but it is there.

Overall, I liked the book. I found the ending to be unsatisfying. It wasn't that it left things open. It just seemed like the author got to a point and decided to just stop writing. 20 or so more pages would have not left an impression like he just ran out of gas and left the book on the side of the road as is.

posted by shannongesq on May 15, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

My thoughts for "The Abstinence Teacher"

I like story line, but my problem was the ending of the book. The author, in my opinion, did a very good job with the characters. I really enjoyed Ruth and Tim. I just think he lost his focus towards the end, to me it was as if he was rushed to finish and that was his f...
I like story line, but my problem was the ending of the book. The author, in my opinion, did a very good job with the characters. I really enjoyed Ruth and Tim. I just think he lost his focus towards the end, to me it was as if he was rushed to finish and that was his final product. In other words it climaxed but it tumbled on its way down.

posted by 1584007 on January 31, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 20 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Good Book, Let-Down Ending

    The book is about a divorced sex-ed teacher who runs up against some evangelical Christians who do not like the way she teaches her class. It's a pitched battle - that she loses. She is forced to teach abstinence.

    Meanwhile, her daughter plays on a soccer team coached by one of the evangelicals. A former rock band guy who's a recovering addict. He's married to one of the flock and unhappy. He's fighting to stay sober and wondering whether the "Godly" life is truly for him.

    The main characters intersect and, of course, there is a romantic tension between them. It's not acted upon during the course of the book, but it is there.

    Overall, I liked the book. I found the ending to be unsatisfying. It wasn't that it left things open. It just seemed like the author got to a point and decided to just stop writing. 20 or so more pages would have not left an impression like he just ran out of gas and left the book on the side of the road as is.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    Abstinence-Birth Control-Religion

    Religion is a challenging subject to tackle with someone who believes as you do but the true challenge is when you tackle it with someone who has no use for it. Ruth Ramsey has no use for religion and becomes upset when the head coach of her daughter¿s soccer team starts to include prayer. Tim Mason, a washed up Grateful Dead lover, alcohol abuser and former drug addict loses his wife and daughter. He¿s converted by charismatic Pastor Dennis and for a while he buys into the religion. The charismatic Pastor Dennis attends a wedding where his wife is a bridesmaid and is seated at a table with men without a date. One of the men is offended by the preacher¿s conversation and goes to the bathroom to escape Pastor Dennis who follows the man into the bathroom. The man beats up Pastor Dennis and the pastor converts him. Later the man realizes that it wasn¿t God who made him want to change as Pastor Dennis had said but something inside him. He leaves the church. Tim marries a woman recommended by Pastor Dennis though he doesn¿t love her but he thought it was the Christian thing to do. As time goes on Tim evaluates his faith and realizes he no longer buys into the religion. Ruth is a Health teacher who teaches sex education. She tells it like it is and is told she has to stop because they¿re going to try a new program called Abstinence. She doesn¿t buy into the program and is told the next year she¿ll teach remedial math. While Tim is trying to come to terms with being a Man of God, he constantly finds himself on Ruth¿s doorstep. The attraction between the two is one they try to ignore.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Slice of life

    I'm noticing that many of the reviews here emphasize the book's initial "liberal/conservative" premise. But what I think the author is trying to convey is that people are people, no matter what their religous beliefs are. Perrotta does an excellent job, as always, of capturing the essence of humanity and the beauty and intrigue of our imperfections.

    I've also noticed a few negative reviews stating, "Nothing happened!" I find this to be misleading and innacurate. This is a carefully paced, character-study of a novel that focuses on two individuals, but also humorously and yet accurarely renders several others. If you enjoy realistic depiction of adult relationships, and celebrating the quirks and complications that ensue, then you won't be dissappointed from this or any book written by Tom Perrotta.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    100% Effective

    THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER is the second book I've read by Perrotta (the first being LITTLE CHILDREN. I like his writing style. If there is a writing style, that is. His writing is just very conversational and easy to read. You don't have to put in a lot of effort; he doesn't try to make things unnecessarily over-intellectual. The novel is about a Health/Sex Ed teacher named Ruth who gets in trouble for saying in class that some people enjoy the oral variety. The school then adopts a curriculum of abstinence that she -- obviously -- doesn't agree with. One of the best chapters of the book has to be when Ruth is forced to attend a workshop with other "bad" teachers throughout the school district. It's very well written and humorous. I could have listened to this group discuss their experiences for an entire novel in itself. After reading about a third of the way into the novel about Ruth, it then abruptly switches gears. The main character now becomes Tim, and we see things through his eyes. It was a bit jarring at first, but I understand why Perrotta did this. He wanted to show readers two sides of the story. Tim is a Jesus-lover. But he wasn't always. In his youth, he was a Deadhead. He smoked, he drank, he did drugs, he partied, etc. He was a terrible husband and an even worse father. Then he found God, became a born-again Christian, and turned his life around. After losing his wife and most of his rights to his daughter. Tim isn't an extreme Bible-thumper, though. He's cool with homosexuality and the like. After a long section about Tim (the lesser interesting but possibly more in-depth character), the novel then alternates between Tim's and Ruth's point of view. Their lives intersect when Tim, a soccer coach, has his team pray at a game. Ruth's daughter is on the team and she's not happy with Tim. All in all, THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER was an enjoyable (and easy) read, and I was pleased that Perrotta showed both positive and negative aspects to both Ruth's and Tim's personalities so the subject matter would appeal to a broader audience and not take sides. My only disappointment would be that not much happened in the novel. It was basically "a day in the life." Or, in this case, "a few months in the lives of Ruth and Tim."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    He's created some great characters again.

    In his usual style, Tom Perrotta combines satire with exactly the right amount of compassion to serve up a delightful book.
    This one is about a woman who teaches health and sex education. Her classes are geared to telling the students the truth and to provide them with advice about protecting themselves. She is divorced and has a daughter.
    Someone takes offense at something she says regarding masturbation and she is instructed by the administration to attend a workshop in which she will learn to teach abstinence as the only method of protection. She knows this will lead to failure, the human condition being what it is.
    Meanwhile, a young divorced man who has had problems with addiction is welcomed into the fold of an evangelical church known simply as Tabernacle. The pastor manages to worm his way into all aspects of the man's life to help him be all that he can be for God.
    This young man has a daughter who plays soccer and he becomes the coach for her team. After an especially grueling game, the coaches join hands with the girls and have a prayer out on the field. The Abstinence teacher goes ballistic and jerks her daughter off the field, telling the coach that it is her right and responsibility to structure her child's religious training (or lack of) and certainly not his.
    There are other interesting characters including a gay couple, one of whom is also a teacher.
    In my opinion, the lesson to take away from this is that all things should be done in moderation and common sense, including religion.
    I loved this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I thought it was good...

    I disagree with some other reviewers who felt it was weak and the author was biased. I feel like the author just told the story of the characters. To me the actions of the characters, while flawed, matched who they were. I enjoyed it, but hesitate to who I recommend it to. Any strong conservative or very religious person might not enjoy the book. You have to read it with an open mind. I saw it as a very real struggle of a born-again Christian, and the daily struggles of a woman living a life without God.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2008

    Read Between the Lines

    I can not definitively say what the author was intending, but as I read between the lines, I got the sense one of the messages was about others (The Christian Church)bestowing their beliefs on the general public (schools,childrens sporting events...) The book seemed to be written tongue in cheek. Interesting how the second main character came around at the end seeing the Tabernacle Church as others regarded it. I think leaving the book hanging at the end was genius. It is implied that Tim stays?? Ruth tells Tim can stay for as long as he wishes ( why not? Ruth is lonely and can talk to him easily). It would have been to easy to give a happy ending with all the details. As readers we have to remember that the publishers have as much say in the ending as the author did. I applaud both for making us think or believe in our own minds what happens at the end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 20 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1