Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Interesting Debate

Tom Perrotta's eagerly awaited new novel, The Abstinence Teacher, comes out in October. It is a thoughtful story about Ruth, a high school sex education teacher who is forced by her administration to adopt an abstinence-only curriculum, and Tim, a reformed druggie and evangelical Christian who coaches soccer. Ruth and Tim's paths cross when Ruth attends her daughter's soccer match and is dismayed to discover Tim leading the team in a prayer at the end of the game. Perrotta does a great job of giving us a balanced story, with expressive viewpoints from both sides of the fence. Tim and Ruth are portrayed as flawed but sincere people. Regardless of what side you're on, or even if you can easily see both sides of the issue, you will be pleased with this book. It certainly doesn't solve any disagreements, but it shows that what some see as black-and-white is more often gray.