California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas the Papas by Penelope Bagieu

Posted March 16, 2017 by shooting in Uncategorized / 8 Comments

California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas and the Papas by Penelope Bagieu

Review by Lauren

source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryBefore 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.

Review: I knew of The Mamas and the Papas, but I didn’t know anything specific about the band members. This graphic novel brings you through the life of Cass Elliot, from young child to burgeoning stardom. It was definitely a fascinating book and I really like graphic novels that are also biographies, because you learn a lot about the people but in a fun, easy-to-read medium.


One of my favorite aspects of this book is that each chapter is told in a different point of view, therefore they are all named after a person. This was almost like an oral history of Cass in that respect. Obviously the writer/artist didn’t talk to these people – she got her information from other biographies, etc. – but it still really worked. It gave the book a unique spin as well!

The illustrations are really well done. They are all in black and white, which worked well since it takes place in the past. While most pages follow the classic comic style with panels, there are some chapters that break away from that a bit and it’s definitely a cool addition to the book! It makes those moments feel more free-flowing. Definitely a good one, all in all!

Want to read? Check it out here! I’m an amazon affiliate – I get a small percent of any sale!

8 responses to “California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas the Papas by Penelope Bagieu

  1. I know of Cass Elliot/Mama Cass but only the well known stuff – like her success with the group, the fact that she had a daughter, and her death. I find it interesting that the author chose to share her story in a graphic novel. Not sure it's something I would be drawn to (the graphic novel aspect) but it's definitely a unique spin on a biography!

  2. That's a really interesting format for a biography! I don't know that I've ever read one in graphic novel form… I'm not a listener of that band, but I feel like the book would be interesting to check out nonetheless!

  3. You're always putting books on my radar that I probably wouldn't have considered reading, but this sound super different, but I like it! So glad that you ended up liking this one too!

  4. I don't know much about Mama Cass or the Mamas and the Papas. I know some of their music, and I do remember them on Scooby Doo! This looks like a great book.

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