REVIEW – Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Published February 4th 2020 by Berkley


This was a clever and entertaining read about parents behaving badly.

I really liked the cover of this book and the description was intriguing. So many books about high school seem to be about students misbehaving. This one is different as it is mostly parents and other adults behaving badly.

Isobel Johnson is a teacher at Liston Heights High which is currently the top public high school in Minnesota. Isobel frequently deals with concerns from over-involved helicopter parents, but even she’s surprised when “a concerned parent” leaves a rather threatening voice mail on her home phone early one morning.

Isobel is aware that the principal and some of her colleagues think she should stick to the board-approved curriculum. But Isobel wonders who WILL speak up if she doesn’t? She just wants her students to see literature as well as the rest of the world in new ways and to think about what really matters in life. “Her intention was to influence the kids who had the power to make big changes in society”. Isobel’s recent performance review had gone well but she knows how quickly things can change. When she’s called into a meeting with her superiors regarding some other complaints she worries that her job might be at risk.

Julia Abbott’s world revolves around her two teenage children, Andrew and Tracy. Like most parents Julia wants her children to succeed. If that means she needs to step in sometimes then so be it out. Julia isn’t a big fan of her daughter’s English teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She feels like Mrs. Johnson has some radical ideas and Julia really doesn’t like her teaching methods. She wonders if she should get some of the other parents involved…

Everyone is excited about the school’s upcoming musical.  After the cast list is finally posted, drama ensues leading to an unfortunate incident that goes viral. Not long after that, a secret “behind the scenes” Facebook account is discovered.

The incident and the Facebook account will have far-reaching consequences for many of those directly and indirectly involved.

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes was a very enjoyable read.

The majority of the story is told from Isobel and Julia’s point of view but we hear from other teachers, parents, the principal, students, and more. Some characters just have a couple of pages but it was still nice to hear their point of view. I really liked the short chapters.

This is definitely a timely read.  It was a thought-provoking story that deals with issues like teaching, parenting, rumors, social media, relationships and more. Realistic in many ways and pure entertainment in others.

All in all a humorous, intriguing, and clever debut novel.


I’d like to thank Berkley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

8 thoughts on “REVIEW – Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

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