I finished this book about a month ago, but I've avoided writing about it because of my general sense of disappointment. I've loved the other Tom Perrotta books I've read, especially Little Children. With The Abstinence Teacher, Perrotta was shooting for the same mark, but didn't quite get there. He certainly has suburban America down cold and he knows how to create sympathetic characters who might normally be difficult to like.
The big problem with The Abstinence Teacher was that both the situation and the characters felt contrived. With both the sex ed teacher who is forced to teach abstinence and the born again, recovering addict, the decisions they made felt more convenient to the story than authentic to the character. Top that off with an unsatisfying ending, and I'm left wondering if the movie version will be able to rescue this novel.