Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Abstinence Teacher - by Tom Perrotta

I first read this novel a few years ago, and I not only remembered how much I liked it, but also that there was a librarian in it. It is the story of Ruth Ramsey, a health teacher in an ambiguous New England state, who, against her better judgement, is required to teach an abstinence-only curriculum to students at Stonewood Heights Middle school. After she makes it clear to her students that the lessons are misleading, she is required to attend remedial virginity trainng with some other less-than-enthusiastic health teachers. Further complicating her life is her attraction to her daughter's married, born-again, soccer coach. Helping her negotiate all of this is her best friend Randall, the school librarian; and Randall's partner, Gregory. The stage is set for a librarian-friendly book on the first page when Randall and Ruth share their ritual morning Starbucks in the library, although there are actually not a lot more places in which the library itself is mentioned. A big library issue, censorship, is part of the story though ,and Randall speaks up to save Judy Blume's classic Are You There God? It's Me Margaret from the would-be book banners.

Look for more about Are You There God? and other banned books on this blog during Banned Books Week September September 24-October 1.

More about author Tom Perrotta at

No comments:

Post a Comment