the abstinence teacher love

the abstinence teacher


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  • (upon edit, to clarify: this rant represents my review of Tom Perrotta's "book", "The Abstinence Teacher". It should be reasonably clear that, in this particular instance, I recommend abstinence)


    Tommy, Tommy, Tommy! How did such a promising young literary stud like yourself turn out to be such an emasculated whore? When did things start to go so horribly, horribly wrong?

    Let me be clear. When I picked you up at the airport in San Francisco, it was with entirely clear-eyed, realistic expectations. Let's face it. I wasn't looking for the literary love of my life. Just a two-plane romance - enough to while away the time it takes to get from SFO to Madrid. Maybe a little bathroom nookie during my stopover in Dulles. And believe me - I'm no snob about this shit. I think there's everything to be said for the fleeting joy of airplane lit. Done right, it can be one of life's great pleasures. And the possibility can never be ruled out that it may lead to a deeper and more passionate commitment. I mean, look at Nate and Brenda in "Six Feet Under", and how well it worked out for them. Even the briefest of airport bathroom encounters is pregnant with possibility.

    So I'll admit to a certain nervous excitement as I boarded the plane at SFO, your manly bulk in my pocket, pressing against my crotch in mute promise of pleasures yet to come. And for the first 20 pages or so, you didn't disappoint. There was wit, a sense of direction, a certain ability to nail characters with brisk efficiency within a couple of snappy paragraphs.

    But I should have heeded the warning signs that were obvious right there in the book store. Even if the appalling cutesy biographical sketch could be excused as a horrendous contrivance foisted upon you by your publicist, there was that truly worrisome 'author portrait', which presumably you had to have approved at the very least. You know the one I'm talking about. The one where your desperate need to be liked permeates every line of the simpering come-hither rictus of a wistful little-lost-geisha-boy pout that you project to your potential johns. It might as well have been subtitled "me make you happy long time".

    Did they teach you that at geisha school, Tommy? To try to be all things to all men? Because, here's the thing, eunuchboy. Let me let you in on a little secret. Nowadays even the sweatiest of Japanese salarymen no longer finds the response "Who would you like me to be?" even faintly arousing in answer to the question "Who are you?".

    So that, when your thin excuse for a bold courageous novel touching on polemic issues degenerated into an incoherent mess of not wanting to offend anybody under any circumstances, frankly my frustration increased in direct proportion to the flaccidity of your prose. What was particularly weird was that you were hardly fooling anyone with your lethally boring 150 pages of padding trying to cover up the moral vaccum at the heart of your cardboard ex-stoner Jesus freak.

    And what about plot, Tommy? Do castrati get a pass?


    Or is that what passes for resolution these days? Fading to black as hormonal Barbie and stoner Ken get it on. Despite the well-documented lack of genitalia of said eponymous action figurines.

    And apparently of the author of this excessively wordy piece of trash of a book, devoid of almost any smidgen of intellectual content. Guaranteed to offend nobody. Unless, of course, you have a brain.

    February 26, 2009

  • *snort*

    I too suffered through this book, but it was the audio version. Hideously disappointing.

    February 26, 2009

  • Great review Sionnach, do you review books I might want to read?

    March 3, 2009