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The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
In The Abstinence Teacher, Ruth Ramsey is a divorced single mother teaching human sexuality in a Northeastern high school. When she makes a favorable comment about sexual pleasure in class, a girl in the class who belongs to the ultra-conservative Christian church in town is offended and her family complains to school officials. The school apologizes for any offensive comments Ruth might have made and changes the curriculum of her class. When Ruth's daughter's soccer coach, Tim Mason, a former drug user and alcoholic who also belongs to the church, instructs the girls to pray after a victory, Ruth is furious. At the same time, she finds herself attracted to the coach. The attraction is mutual and shakes up both of their worlds. Tom Perrotta's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the Chicago Sun-Times saying, "Eloquently written, Perrotta hits a chord by giving readers a riveting look at the angst and sexual tension that can polarize people as they struggle to weigh their personal wants with societal standards and expectations. Perrotta weaves a masterful satire that is sure to make readers stop and think."