Friday, January 31, 2020

Julie's Review: Minor Drama & Other Catastrophes

Author: Kathleen West
Series: None
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Helicopter parents with social media consequences make for a great novel
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: When a devoted teacher comes under pressure for her progressive curriculum and a helicopter mom goes viral on social media, two women at odds with each other find themselves in similar predicaments, having to battle back from certain social ruin. Isobel Johnson has spent her career in Liston Heights sidestepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a liberal agenda, she’s in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Julia Abbott, obsessed with the casting of the school’s winter musical, makes an error in judgment that has far-reaching consequences for her entire family. Brought together by the sting of public humiliation, Isobel and Julia learn firsthand how entitlement and competition can go too far, thanks to a secret Facebook page created as an outlet for parent grievances. The Liston Heights High student body will need more than a strong sense of school spirit to move past these campus dramas in an engrossing debut novel that addresses parents behaving badly and teenagers speaking up, even against their own families.

Review: You know Sports parents get a bad rap, but this book highlights that maybe just maybe Fine Arts parents are no better, they are just not filmed acting horribly.  What Ms. West does in this novel is show the reader how one moment can be exacerbated and get its wings via social media. It also highlights the dark versions of social media and how it really can destroy reputations and harm lives. 

Julia Abbott's life revolves her two kids, Tracy and Andrew much to their chagrin. She'll do anything to make sure that they are in position to take on the social circles of high school. She doesn't worry too much about Tracy but focuses more on Andrew and his theatre career. She's convinced that everything they've done during the summer will guarantee Andrew a plum role in the play. But Julia's not really good with things being out of her control and so she goes to the school to see the cast list before her son. What happens next is a situation that gets caught on film and it doesn't show Julia in the best light. It will also have far reaching after effects on each one of her family members. 

You then have Isobel Johnson who is a teacher of Literature that wants her students to think outside of the box but not all parents are happy about her methods. This has some major fallout for her as she fights for her job and fights for the way she wants to do her job. 

There are so many layers to this novel that I can't even begin to go into most of what makes me love this because I'll give key plot points away. Minor Drama & Other Catastrophes is so nuanced and covers a variety of different social issues without being preachy. The character development in this books is fantastic as is the way it is told from many different POV which all intersect is superb.

I highly anticipate the next novel from Ms. West. 



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