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Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Perfect for fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Small Admissions, a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High--the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle--and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.

Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia
...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Berkley
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  • Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen    West
    Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes
    by
    Release date: Feb 04, 2020
    Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Small Admissions, a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 50 copies available, 2533 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 04 - Feb 03, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.24  · 
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    Katie B
    Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Even though there are quite a few different subjects explored in this novel, it was actually a pretty light read. It was like I was reading something with substance and value but how it was written with the different character perspectives made it a very easy book to fly right thru. Really enjoyed this one.

    High school teacher Isobel Johnson recognizes most of the privileged students she teaches pretty much live in a bubble and therefore she works hard in trying to get them to open their eyes to
    ...more
    Theresa Alan
    Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
    I enjoyed both Where’d You Go Bernadette and Small Admissions, which, in the marketing copy, this book is compared to. It shouldn’t be. It does feature those insufferable helicopter parents that I don’t know personally but have read about. Maybe it’s because I’m not a parent myself and I grew up in the days that preceded Law and Order being on TV twenty-four hours a day on multiple channels, so my parents let my sister and me play outside all day and simply figured we’d show up at dinner when we ...more
    Lorilin
    Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: fiction, own, arc
    Julia Abbott is a parent of two Liston Heights high school students. Her son, Andrew, is trying out for the school’s latest theater production, and Julia is determined that he be given a speaking role this time around—after all, didn’t the Abbott family just donate enough money to fund the school’s entire costume department? On the day the cast list is posted, Julia can’t wait any longer to know if Andrew made the cut. She secretly enters the school to check the list but, in her rushed ...more
    Tracy  C
    Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
    The drama llama was running amuck! There are quite a few POV's here, but I really enjoyed seeing things from different perspectives.
    Maureen Fischer
    Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Reading along in Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, I came across so many wildly true aspects of school life, and found it fascinating to see them through a teacher's eyes, as well as a helicopter parent's. If you like social media, and the inside scoop on the harm as well drama, humor and havoc it can create at school, this book is for you. Loved it. Looking forward to West's next novel, which I hear is underway!
    Natalie
    Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I must start by saying, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! As a classroom teacher for many years, I felt West managed to capture the politics of teaching in today’s world. It is the story of the well-meaning, super teacher, Isobel Johnson who gets caught in the web of political manipulation of school administrators, parents and other teachers.

    The main culprit is the parent of 2 of her students, a truly hideous helicopter parent. Julia Abbott managed to stir up a wasp’s nest of negative feelings toward
    ...more
    Donna Hines
    Social media and the 'Marxist' theory of learning what could be better...? How about Helicopter Parents?
    YES!!!!
    Folks as a mom of three teens with one freshman in college, plus a junior in high school, and a 7th grade elementary student; I can surely relate to this whole drama field of emotions and teachings.
    The entire premise of uncovering the characters inner feelings was quite the road trip as we have a mixed bag here from administration, teachers, students, parents, and the wanna be heroes.
    ...more
    Stacy
    Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    So excited to read this one! I was fortunate to read an early draft and LOVED it. Can't wait to see how it "grew up"!
    Meg
    Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
    Kathleen West's upcoming novel, Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes, tells the story of teachers, admin, parents and students at privileged Liston Heights High. The characters start as stereotypes -- the crazed theater mom with a not-terribly-talented son, the liberal English teacher, the naive and overworked new teacher, the dully officious admin, the teenage girl following her Feminism 101 checklist -- but soon the interlocking stories pull you in.

    The setting is great, and while the characters
    ...more
    Susan
    Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Minor Dramas is a major win! It's a smart and witty read from debut author Kathleen West, who draws upon her teaching experience to weave a true-to-life narrative with heart. I could easily visualize the fictional town of Liston Heights, a prestigious Minneapolis suburb with a top-ranked public high school (and a secret insiders-only Facebook group that causes havoc online and off). The characters that West has expertly drawn are intriguing and engaging - overreaching mother Julia, well-meaning ...more
    Adriana Matzke
    Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Timely, funny and fast paced. Absolutely delightful!
    Sandra
    Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Is it too early to refer to Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes as the one of the best books of 2020? Sure, we're a month away before the ball drops to ring in a new year, but this timely, cautionary tale from Kathleen West will have readers glued to their seats, book in hand.

    Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes releases February 4th from Berkley Publishing and it's a book you don’t want to miss. With a high school backdrop, Minor Dramas opens early in the school year and is told from a variety
    ...more
    Kk
    Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I absolutely LOVED this book. Smart, hilarious, and relevant, it has everything you could want.
    Stephanie Wrobel
    Such an engrossing read—on parenting, teaching, politics, and growing up. Do you all remember Great Books? While I 1000% do not miss high school, this one made me nostalgic for all those group discussions in English class.

    Minor Dramas will make for an excellent book club conversation starter... if you're not afraid to stir up a little healthy debate!
    Rob
    Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes (February 2020)
    By Kathleen West
    Berkley/Penguin/Random House, 384 pages.


    This novel is so timely that it should be rushed to market. Kathleen West is high school teacher, and who better to weigh in on helicopter parents, tiger moms, the dangers of unregulated social media, truthiness, and–by extension–the college recruiting scandals?

    Allow me to lead with the last of these. Many folks–me among them–have assumed that the offspring of elites were complicit in the
    ...more
    Susan McGrath
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
    I received an Advance Reading Copy of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West from the publisher (Berkley/ Penguin Random House) in exchange for an honest review. Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes is scheduled for release on February 4, 2020.

    Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes follows (primarily) two women. Isobel is a teacher at Liston Heights High who feels that it is part of her job to encourage students to question their view of the world and understand other possible
    ...more
    Rachel
    Dec 04, 2019 added it
    1 star: Could not finish the book
    2 star: Had to force myself to finish the book, did not care for the book, and will not be seeking out this author in the future
    3 star: Liked the book, but will not necessarily be seeking out this author in the future
    4 star: Really liked the book and would read more of this author, but will not be re-reading this particular book again
    5 star: Loved it so much that I will re-read this book in the future, and the author is going onto my list for pre-orders of their
    ...more
    Deborah
    Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: edelweiss
    I received a complimentary digital galley of MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES by Kathleen West in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Berkeley Publishing and Edelweiss for the chance to read and review!

    In MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES Isobel Johnson is a teacher, trying to make a difference by igniting passion in her students in the midst of a very straight laced school. Julia Abbott is a helicopter parent to beat all helicopter parents and she is determined to micromanage
    ...more
    Caroline Hedges
    Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book had me taking a morning off work so that I could finish it! I live in a community very similar to Liston Heights and know some moms very like Julia. I cringed and headsmacked my way through this story knowing that some of the comments and storylines could have come straight outta my neighborhood.

    Julia Abbott is a type A, helicopter parent. She gave up her life to love and control her children's lives. If they wanted something she would find a way to get it, but one day it all goes
    ...more
    Jennifer S. Brown
    This funny book totally skewers high school in the same way that Class Mom by Laurie Gelman shreds the elementary school experience. At Liston High, it's time for Julia Abbott's son to take a lead in the school play. After all, the Abbotts donated the costume shop. But Julia's interference causes a stir, especially when an incident with her at the school is filmed by a student and shared on every social media site there is. This, along with the "Marxist" leaning ways of teacher Isobel Johnson, ...more
    Amy
    Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    Fans of, The Gifted School , will get a big kick out the latest parenting dramas in,Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes.

    This story pits a teacher with a very progressive curriculum up against the school's #1 helicopter parent.

    Julia Abbott demands a lot from her kids, their teacher, and their school. As big donors, she feels that her "charitable gift," to the drama
    ...more
    Kim
    Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I won this book from Penguin Random House and had no idea what the book was about when I started reading it.
    At first I thought I would not enjoy it. It is so different then the books I normally read. I thought it seemed kind of boring.
    It takes place in a high school with the main characters being teachers, students and parents. Its about one teacher in particular and her style of teaching. It tells about her past and why she teaches the way she does. And about the students she teaches and how
    ...more
    kimreadsandreads
    Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: on-kindle, arc-s
    This book about a high school teacher with high ideals, her colleagues, and the parents of her students was a fun, quick read. I really enjoy reading a out the, hopefully, fictional lengths parents will go to get their kids ahead.
    Parts of this book resonated with me. In high school I had a beloved English teacher that was very tough but fair. She made us think and let us know she thought we were capable of higher level thinking. Her ideas and strident grading made many parents upset and they
    ...more
    Heather
    Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Thanks to Penguin Random House and Goodreads I won a copy of this title. Another good title might have been “Helicopter Mom Crashes.” Isobel Johnson, a literature teacher at Liston Heights High School, is questioned by parents about her teaching methods. Julia Abbott, parent of two high schoolers at Liston Heights, goes to extremes so her son will be cast in the upcoming drama production. Along the way their paths collide, cross and get pretty nasty. It helps that one of the teachers had started ...more
    Kim Bakos
    Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: giveaways
    As a parent and an English teacher, I loved this book on a number of levels. Thankfully, I've never been a "stage/band/dance/cheer" mom who always tries to push her kid to the forefront of whatever activity he/she is in. I have fought for them to be treated fairly when I thought that wasn't happening. Anyone who is a helicopter parent, or one who is over-involved, should certainly learn a thing or two from this story and hopefully, be encouraged to take a step or two back.
    As an English teacher,
    ...more
    Rebecca
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: netgalley, 2020
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review.

    4.5 stars, rounded. Personal experience has something to do with how very much I enjoyed Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes- I personally attended a high school that reminds me very much of the one in this book (and was a theater kid at said school), and as a former resident of the Minneapolis suburbs I found that Kathleen West did an excellent job with the community she set there (and I will say that I
    ...more
    Nicole Handy
    Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I won this book via Goodreads Giveaways.

    This novel of modern high school dilemmas was a fun read and one that did open my eyes to how much life in our schools now is broadcast and picked apart by the general population. This book has plenty of social media posts, helicopter parents and political/moral conundrums.

    At times I truly cringed at Julia's maddening control and the bullying levied onto Isobel for being an outspoken teacher. It was an uncomfortable read at times, but in the sense that it
    ...more
    Dana
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
    At Liston Heights High, parents are the children, kids are the adults and teachers walk a fine line between the two.

    In Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West we see what goes on behind school doors in a very real way.

    Told in multiple perspectives, we are introduced to helicopter moms who will stop at close to nothing, teachers who teach with all their heart, teachers with an agenda, and administration with their continual attempts to put out fires.

    Is mean really mean if the
    ...more
    Bekka
    Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: realism, suspense
    Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishers for early access to this title.

    3 1/2 stars -
    As I was reading this book, I was reminded more of Pretty Little Lies than Where'd You Go Bernadette? Its definitely got its suspense elements, but there is a lot of humor, too. While its not dealing with murder, it is detailing some pretty poor behavior on the part of several of the characters. This book is a real object lesson in the dangers of the internet, and how you never know what's going to be posted
    ...more
    Kim McGee
    Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
    High school can be an unstable place for the students, parents, and teachers but no high school is as unstable as the one in Kathleen West's debut novel. The teachers kowtow to the department heads and principal and everybody kowtows to the parents of these privileged students. For some teachers and administrators, it is just easier to always say yes to the helicopter moms but for one teacher, Isobel, who honestly wants to teach her English students, the repercussions may be too much. A social ...more
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