Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Abstinence Teacher

I picked up this book based on its cover. The title and cover seemed interesting, and after I read the back I thought it would be good. It wasn't quite what I thought it would be from skimming the description on the back. Here's what I thought I was reading: Abstinence teacher encounters opposition, possibly adjusting her methods.

Basically, the book is about a woman who has taught health for years. She makes a comment that is misconstrued and is then forced by the school board to teach abstinence only when a religious group sues the school. She does not believe in abstinence education, and therefore fights the change all the way. There is also a character in the book who is a member of the religious group, who is struggling with living the religion. These two characters come together in an unlikely association.

This book is written from a very liberal perspective. The religious people are all shown as either fanatics, or private defectors. When the main character discovers that a family member wants to attend church, she comes close to having a panic attack. There is contempt for teaching abstinence, and an insistence on the idea that all teenagers are having sex. No middle ground is ever explored, which was surprising to me. The cover certainly seemed to indicate that middle ground would be explored.

My personal belief is that teenagers should be taught about oxytocin and its powerful bonding effects, and the impact sex will have on their emotions because of this. All people, especially teenagers with their developing selves, should be encouraged to wait longer in relationships before having sex. This idea or other similar "middle ground" ideas are what I was expecting from the book. I feel that the author does the reader a disservice by not at least exploring these ideas.

What bothered me the most about this book: the obvious agenda. Its true that part of the problem was my own expectations. But another part of the problem was the heavy hand of the author. I like to read stories that give me insights into other people's world views. I like to see a situation from a different perspective. I probably would have come away with at least a better understanding of ideas so different from my own, even if I didn't come to agree. I don't like to have another person's world view rammed down my throat. I don't like my fiction to preach at me. I would not recommend this book unless you are anti-religious and liberal.

No comments:

Post a Comment