Minor Dramas on the Small Screen, Or, “Hollywood, Can You Hear Me?”

Greetings from book tour! I had a wonderful launch week, and I continue to celebrate the release of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes on the road. I’m typing this from my hotel room in Chicago where I’ve finished the first of three events. If you happen to be in the Chicago area, I’ll be at the Highland Park Public Library today, February 11th, at 1:00, and at Lake Forest Book Store at 6:00 this evening. Tomorrow, I’ll be in the Boston Area at Belmont Books at 7:00pm. It’s been a delight to see friends new and old at book events, and I’d love to see you, too!

Rachel Cannon, Expert Fit-Thrower. My brother took this photo.

And, if I could magically turn on my television along the way and watch my minor dramas come to life on screen, my sister-in-law, Rachel Cannon, would embody my helicopter mom on steroids, Julia Abbott. Rachel has already had tons of practice playing a neighborhood busybody for six seasons on Fresh Off the Boat, and I can picture her throwing all of Julia’s embarrassing fits–at the high school drama bulletin board, in the principal’s office, and in her own driveway. And, she’d bring my adorable nephew, now three-and-a-half, to all of the season premieres and wrap parties.

If I had a slightly more encyclopedic knowledge of girl-next-door actors in their 30s, I could tell you who exactly besides Jennifer Garner would play Isobel. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

To play the well-loved, but slightly harried, school teacher with dark hair and glasses, we’ll need a Jennifer Garner look alike. I love Jennifer and watched all of the seasons of Alias (even the final, incomprehensible one) in the days of Blockbuster Video when we had schlep to the actual physical store and hope the right DVD hadn’t been rented by some other Alias-addicted binger. I also love Jennifer on her Instagram account, and I loved her in 13 Going on 30 and in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and in a million other things. I’d just say “Jennifer Garner” for this part but my Isobel is supposed to be 35 or 36. Jennifer Garner is already 47, though you’d hardly know it what with her youthful charm and luminous skin.

My two stellar leads would be surrounded by compelling and empathetic supporting cast members who week after week and season-after-season would bring Liston Heights to life. We’d probably have to add a little “major drama” to the mix in seasons two and three, just to keep things spicy — maybe a couple of affairs that aren’t in the original book. Perhaps a hit-and-run. Maybe a cheating scandal or a pot-dealing P.E. teacher. The possibilities are endless, and Hollywood? I’m available.

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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

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