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Extended Audio Sample The Abstinence Teacher: A Novel Audiobook, by Tom Perrotta Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (10,797 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Perrotta Narrator: Campbell Scott Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781427201928
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Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children, but amid its good schools and healthy real estate market, a small-town culture war is brewing. The Abstinence Teacher focuses on two divorced parents who become adversaries in the mess: 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. 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. Elegantly written and with Perrotta's distinctive mix of satire and compassion, The Abstinence Teacher illuminates the powerful emotions that run beneath the placid surface of modern American family life, and explores the complicated spiritual and sexual lives of ordinary people.

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Quotes & Awards

  • One of the 2007 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards: Best in Category, 2007
  • Winner of iTunes Best Audiobooks, 2007
  • Among longlisted titles for Audible.com Best of the Year, 2007

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina Mcnerthney | 2/15/2014

    " Had a hard time getting into this book at first, but it grew on me. Reading it reminded me of my childhood, growing up Catholic and going to parochial school in a liberal town. Good read although not Perrotta's best work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenabra | 2/14/2014

    " Perrota writes about the dark underside of suburbia, and adult life. The characters in The Abstinence Teacher find themselves on opposite sides of religious issues in a small town, with an enjoyable romantic tension between them. Abstinence, they find, is a kind of teacher, and so is life. Perrota's books are funny, true, and captivating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 2/12/2014

    " Book on CD. I could listen to Campbell Scott all day. The book was silly...lonely liberal, agnostic divorcee sex ed teacher dukes it out (and finds love?) with married, recovering substance abuser, born again (but rethinking this) soccer coach. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tayla | 2/1/2014

    " I've read other Tom Perrotta books and always find them interesting and intelligent. A good, quick read. They're thought provoking and cover controversial issues without necessarily forcing a point of view on the reader, though you can probably guess what his views are... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek Baldwin | 1/20/2014

    " I enjoyed the first part of the book a great deal but when the focus shifted to born-again Tim the story soon seemed to lose momentum. This might be subjective: I am not prepared to be as fair-minded towards born-again "Christians" as the author was (very even handed) and therefore didn't much care to read about them. But I distinctly got the impression that the author himself had lost interest. Whichever of the two it was, this seemed really promising but fizzled out, which was a shame. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/13/2014

    " Fun read. A little predictable. Would probably give it 3 1/2 if I could. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tamara | 1/11/2014

    " An interesting premise of a religious man and divorced woman who meet under confrontational circumstances, but always felt the characters were cardboard cut-outs and the whole issue of differing opinions was never properly paid off. I wouldn't include it in your nightstand pile of "to-reads." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stampie | 1/9/2014

    " Awesome book! Good writing, good story, interesting characters - this one has the works! It has more of a fanatical religious plot than I was expecting, but it made for a really good read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 12/11/2013

    " This would have gotten a higher rating from me, but for the ending. What's up with not writing an actual ending to a book?!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 10/21/2013

    " The story is much more layered and complex and less predictable than I had expected. Perotta does a fabulous job creating realistically complicated characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily | 7/31/2013

    " The reviews I read about the book before buying it were completely misleading. The book was extremely disappointing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dawn | 7/14/2013

    " bookclub book. The book starts out great about a health teacher, and then out of nowhere it takes a turn and the rest of the book is about a man who gave his life to God while in jail, and blah, blah, blah...not what the title or the back cover indicated. And onto the next... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave 25 | 1/16/2013

    " Great book. Great writer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 12/25/2012

    " It seemed pretty good while reading it, but by the time I got to the end I was rolling my eyes and didn't seem to care "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dandy Harris | 11/1/2012

    " This definitely isn't my favorite Tom Perrotta book, but I still liked it. It was kind of a slow read because I didn't constantly want to pick it up (I think the story is just not that exciting) but when I did I really enjoyed the writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 8/23/2012

    " I do like stories about zealots, and thankfully he found his way in the end. No praying at soccer or learning about abstinence for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deanne | 2/12/2012

    " Not bad. Some pretty funny parts. Better than Little Children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tanya | 1/4/2012

    " An interesting fiction that explores questions of religion, morality and social mores. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/5/2011

    " I had higher hopes for an ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 5/18/2011

    " Loved this book. Perrotta has a wonderful way of investing all of his characters with such a rich, nuanced backstory. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 5/14/2011

    " This was even better the second time! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 gwen | 5/9/2011

    " Why do I keep reading Tom Perrotta books when I never really like any of them? And yet.

    Edited to add: NEVER AGAIN, Tom Perrotta. Blech. And the ending was even more blech. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renae | 5/9/2011

    " The plot is very interesting, especially in the beginning. However, I thought the ending could've have been a lot better. Overall, however, the book is a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 5/6/2011

    " I didn't expect to like this book that much. I picked it up at a garage sale and as amazed. The characters are great, and the plot carries along nicely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandy | 5/1/2011

    " Audio - hard to follow from one story to another as there weren't any chapter breaks. Great characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kendra | 4/21/2011

    " I found the "born again" character utterly annoying. Loved the teacher and thought it was a thought provoking book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rhonda | 4/13/2011

    " Story about Ruth, the sex-ed teacher at the local high school, and Tim, now born-again Christian who is the soccer coach at the same school. Both have daughters on the soccer team.

    The story fails to become anything interesting...was quite bored.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Digger's Mom | 4/11/2011

    " A little twisted, more than a little crass. I won't recommend it to my M-in-Law. "

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About the Author
Author Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta is the New York Times bestselling author of several works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into critically acclaimed movies, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into an HBO series.

About the Narrator

Campbell Scott has, in addition to his numerous stage and film credits, narrated more than forty audiobooks, including This Boy’s Life and Into Thin Air, and won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards.