California Dreamin': Cass Elliot Before the Mamas and the Papas by Penelope Bagieu is a biography in graphic novel format. Before she became the legendary Mama Cass―one quarter of the mega-huge folk group The Mamas and the Papas―Cass Eliot was a girl from Baltimore trying to make it in the big city. After losing parts to stars like Barbra Streisand on the Broadway circuit, Cass found her place in the music world with an unlikely group of cohorts. The Mamas and the Papas released five studio albums in their three years of existence. It was at once one of the most productive (and profitable) three years any band has ever had, and also one of the most bizarre and dysfunctional groups of people to ever come together to make music. Through it all, Cass struggled to keep sight of her dreams―and her very identity.
California Dreaming: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas and the Papas was an interesting read. I did not know the story behind Cass, or the Mamas and the Papas- and I think many people that have enjoyed their music are equally as ignorant of this information as I was. I was glad to see how things came about, and while not happy that there was so much struggle on Cass’s part to find her place in the world, it was enlightening. I think that this information could also be encouraging to young people with big dreams, and big troubles, to see that others have been there, that others have made it, and than they are not alone. Seeing other people facing similar feelings or struggles through life, especially in people that are admired, can help those struggling see that it is possible to get through it all. Thew art work was well matched to the story, and it drew me in. It is not the style that I normally like the best, but it grew on me as I read.