The Cheetah Girls: Hey, Ho, Hollywood!

November 23, 2007 at 5:10 am (The Cheetah Girls)

It is not that I am lazy to write a lot about the last book of the Cheetah Girls Livin’ Large Books 1-4 that is called Hey, Ho, Hollywood, but it is really hard to write a remarkable long comment after writing pages about the first three books. For me, the story is not very different from the other three stories. the-cheetah-girls.jpg
It is about the girls who really try hard to become famous and get really frustrated when they lose the world-famous Apollo Amateur Hour contest. All the girls cry and are very upset. They cannot believe that they have lost the contest. They react as if the whole world has broken down. Their reactions show that it is their greatest wish to become famous singers. They really want to make their dreams come true, and they try everything to give the best. But their effort is not enough, and they lose the contest. Luckily, Galleria’s mum’s hairdresser Pepto B. makes it possible for the Cheetah Girls to come to his salon and sing in front of his famous customer Kahlua, the teenage R&B diva. Kahlua’s last single topped the charts, and so the girls are really happy that they can rock Pepto B.’s salon with their newest song “More Pounce to the Ounce”. As Kahlua likes the Cheetah Girls’ performance, she hooks up a meeting with her record label executives in Hollywood. The girls are so excited and are looking forward to coming to Hollywood. Although they encountered great difficulties at the airport because of weather problems, Galleria and the girls finally make it to fly to Hollywood.

Besides the frustration of losing the Apollo Amateur Hour contest and the excitement of flying to Hollywood, one important issue in this novel is the relationship between Anginette and Aquanette and their future stepmother High Priestess Abala Shaballa Bogo Hexagone, their father’s new girlfriend. The twins do not really like her and are not satisfied with her behavior. She seems to be a very strange person who believes in spooky rituals and even practises the rituals in the twins’ home.deborah-gregory.jpg

Even though I don’t like the novel very much, I would let my kids read the fourth book of the Cheetah Girls as well, because kids can again learn something from the book. They find out that even if people encounter problems in life (like the Cheetah Girls did when they lost the famous contest), there is still a light at the end of the tunnel (the Cheetah Girls could fly to Hollywood in the end).  The relationship between the twins and their fathers’ new girlfriend is a valuable issue for kids as well. Many kids these days have to live with single parents, have get used to new stepparents, have to deal with divorce, etc. The novel helps kids to realize that they are not the only ones who have to deal with problems like that.

In conclusion, I would not have problems if my kids wanted to read the Cheetah Girls novels, even though I am not an eager advocate of the novels by Deborah Gregory I have read so far. The reasons for not being a supporter of the books can be found in the four comments I have written about the books 😉 .  

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The Cheetah Girls: Who’s Bout to Bounce?

November 20, 2007 at 4:58 am (The Cheetah Girls)

Dorinda Rogers is the narrator of the novel “Who’s Bout to Bounce?”. Although Dorinda is only twelve years old, she already attends 9th grade at Fashion Industries High School. She seems to be the smartest girl of the Cheetah Girls and also the best dancer.the-cheetah-girls_livin-large.jpg

In this novel, Dorinda’s dance teacher tells her that she is a very good dancer, and that she has the power to audition as a back-up dancer for the singing sensation Mo’ Money Monique. Dorinda finally auditions and gets the job. But as she loves it to be with the Cheetah Girls, she is really worried about leaving the Cheetah Girls, and so she does not tell her friends that she got the job as a back-up dancer. Being a back-up dancer for the Mo’ Money Monique group means travelling a year around with the singers. This would mean for Dorinda to leave the Cheetah Girls and also her family behind.

Dorinda is a foster child and lives with her foster mum and dad and ten other children in the housing projects of Harlem, New York. Even though Dorinda likes her foster mum, she does not like to live with all the kids in the small apartment. Sometimes she really wishes to be able to live a normal live. As Mrs. Bosco is just her foster mum, the woman cannot show her feelings very well. She, for example, never hugs her kids and tells them that she loves them. Dorinda sometimes wishes to be hugged by her foster mum like the other Cheetah Girls are hugged by their parents. “I wish my foster mum would hug me like that. Maybe once she really adopts me, she will…” (Gregory 366). Finally, Mrs. Bosco asks Dorinda if she wants to be adopted by her, and Dorinda agrees. She is really happy about that because then she will have a real mother like other children have.deborah-gregory1.jpg

Dorinda does not like her foster mum’s looks, and she is also ashamed of her foster home. So she does not want the Cheetah Girls to meet Mrs. Bosco and visit their home. But one day, the girls meet Mrs. Bosco in front of the school. Without letting Dorinda know, the Cheetah Girls support Mrs. Bosco to improve her looks. They show her how to put on make-up and change her outfit. They also organize a surprise adoption party for Dorinda at her home. When Dorinda realizes that all the girls are driving towards her home, she really gets upset because she does not want the girls to see her home. But in the end, she is really happy of her foster mum’s new style, and she is really glad about the party the girls have organized. At the party, it is also revealed that Dorinda got the back-up dancer job. The Cheetah Girls are not angry at all about the tour, and they say that Dorinda has to know on her own what she wants to do. They even offer her to take her back into the group whenever she comes back.

Unfortunately, the adoption went wrong. Dorinda is not being adopted. In the end, she also decides against the tour, because she loves the Cheetah Girls too much.

When I was reading the book, I really thought that I liked the book much better than the other novels, because I started to like the Cheetah Girls. I started to like them because they helped to make Mrs. Bosco much prettier and also organized the surprise adoption party for Dorinda. But when I came to the university the next day and talked to the other students in the group discussion, I changed my mind. Some girls in the group said that the Cheetah Girls just have improved Mrs. Bosco’s looks because they did not want a pop group’s mum to look so embarrassing. As they liked the outward appearance of their mums, they also wanted Mrs. Bosco to look great. They not only did it for Dorinda, they just did it for themselves to make the whole girl group look better. They did not want other adults and teenagers to see the unstylish Mrs. Bosco.

I must admit, I haven’t thought about that when I was reading the novel. I thought that finally I could really see the true friendship among the girls. But after the discussion with the girls in the class, I really doubt if it is true friendship or just a superficial relationship among the girls.

Although I don’t like the book very much, I would let kids read the novel because they can still learn something from it. They learn about the problems foster children have to deal with; they learn about the relationship amongst parents and kids; they get an impression of making one’s dreams come true; they learn that not all decisions are made easily in life; they also find out that sometimes people have to keep secrets in order not to hurt other human beings’ feelings.

I would for sure not prohibit my kids to read this novel, because I think that kids can learn a lot from reading the book.

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The Cheetah Girls: Shop in the Name of Love

November 3, 2007 at 10:47 am (The Cheetah Girls)

The story is told by Chanel, who likes to spend time with her father’s girlfriend Pamela and loves shopping. Her mum doesn’t like her daughter to spend time with Pamela and forbids her to accept and take any presents from Pamela. To make that clear, Chanel’s mum gives her daughter her credit card and allows her to buy one dress for her big meeting with The Cheetah Girls Club. the-cheetah-girls_livin-large.jpg But instead of buying just one outfit, Chanel buys several things. She spends a lot of money with her mum’s credit card. Chanel believes that she can give her mum the money back, because she will make a lot of money with The Cheetah Girls anyway. So she even buys things for Dorinda who doesn’t have enough money to buy nice outfits.

Unfortunately, her mother realizes that Chanel has spent so much money with her credit card and forces her to stop being a member of The Cheetah Girls. Luckily, Galleria’s mum can calm Juanita down and makes another suggestion how Chanel should be punished. Finally, Chanel has to work in Galleria’s mum store to work off her debts.

Another part of the story deals with The Cheetah Girls, who finally don’t sign the contract with Mr. Johnson, because the contract is actually a trap. The girls’ group new manager is now Galleria’s mum Dorothea. She wants to bring The Cheetah Girls to the top.

When you read this story, you realize that the girls are quite disrespectful towards adults. You  cannot take your mum’s credit card and buy as many things as you want!!! Chanel should have been happy about ordering just one outfit as her mother told her, but instead she bought all the things she wanted to have. Even though she bought some stuff for Dorinda, I don’t think she ordered the clothes, because she wanted to make Dorinda happy. She wanted to make herself happy! She wanted that all the girls looked good so that she herself didn’t need to be ashamed of the group members. Here you see again that their friendship is mainly based on labels and nice clothes.

But we should consider that Chanel’s mum forbids her daughter to be friends with her father’s new girlfriend and even tells her not to accept any presents from Pamela – which I think is really odd. Juanita should instead be very happy when her daughter gets along well with her father’s girlfriend. cheetah-girls_shoes.jpgShe shouldn’t be jealous, and if she was jealous, she shouldn’t show that jealousy to her daughter. Her daughter is an individual and can decide on her own with what people she likes to be friends with. I am sure that it is not easy for Chanel to cope with her parent’s divorce, and her mum makes the situation even worse by forbidding her a good relationship with her new stepmother. Chanel has to cope with a quite unstable environment, and maybe that’s a reason for her love of shopping. She wants to heal her offended sensibilities by buying as much stuff as she wants.

What I haven’t mentioned so far when writing about the first book Wishing on a Star cheetah-girls_bag.jpgwas the slang the characters use in the book. I really have problems understanding their talk, even though there is a glossary at the end of each book. I’m not sure if it makes sense to use so many slang words when writing a book. It just makes the characters appear worse, and the readers have problems understanding the phrases. What you realize though when you read the slang words is that the kids come from multicultural backgrounds. This might be the reason why Deborah Gregory used so many slang words when writing the books!

Still, I am not a real fan of The Cheetah Girls, because I simply cannot identify with them or their parents. The age of the girls is surely not the reason, because when I read Nancy Drew or Anne Shirley, who is even younger in the first book, I could really feel and identify with the characters. They made me an aspirational reader, whereas The Cheetah Girls stories so far haven’t fascinated me at all.

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The Cheetah Girls: Wishing on a Star

October 31, 2007 at 4:54 am (The Cheetah Girls)

Galleria and Chanel, two fourteen year old girls, enter Fashion Industries High School. They live in New York City. gregory-deborah.jpgWhile being online in a chat room, Galleria gets to know a girl called Dorinda, who will also enter Fashion Industries High School. So they become friends with Dorinda. Chanel Simmons, her nickname is Chuchie, is a blend of Dominican and Puerto Rican on her mother’s side, Jamaican and Cuban on her father’s side. She lives in Soho. Her mother Juanita is divorced and now has a new boyfriend from France. Her dad also has a new girlfriend. Galleria Garibaldi is also biracial. Her father is an Italian garment manufacturer from Bologna. Her mother, a former model and now boutique owner and designer, is African American. Dorinda lives with a foster family and her skin color is black. Together with two other girls, Anginette and Aquanette, who are African American twin sisters, the three girls form a girls’ band called The Cheetah Girls. They all love singing and by the way they want to beef up their cash flow.

I must admit that I didn’t like the book very much, because I couldn’t identify with the girls in the story. Galleria, who lives on the Upper East Side of New York City, seems to be quite a wealthy girl, because she wears designer clothes – Gucci and Prada, eats Godiva chocolate, has a computer and a telephone in her own bedroom, has a poodle which can make use of several grooming services, etc. You realize in the way she behaves that she is wealthy. Chanel, Anginette and Aquanette also seem to have enough money. Only Dorinda doesn’t have lots of money and has to give the money she earns with The Cheetah Girls to her foster family.

I didn’t like the book, because I don’t like the characters very much. The emphasis is put on designer clothes, money, style, good looking, good reputation and being adored by other people.  the-cheetah-girls_livin-large.jpgThe girls are friends with each other, but their interaction is mainly based on labels and good clothes. If anyone doesn’t wear nice and expensive designer clothes, the girls complain about it and try to figure out ways how all the girls could dress similarly. Friendship is not based on values we normally associate with friendship. The girls often criticize each other and quarrel about things like the selection of songs.

What one has to take in consideration, though, is the fact that especially Galleria and Chanel get very much influenced by their mothers, who were once models and are also very much interested in expensive clothes and money. Chanel’s mum, for example, has now a French boyfriend, who seems to have much money, and Juanita thinks that “he might be her ticket to the Billionaire’s Ball” (Gregory 9). Here you realize that not love is in the center of their relationship but money. Maybe the girls don’t know anything else, because they are so much influenced by their parents.

The only thing I liked about this book was the forming of The Cheetah Girls Club, because you realize that the girls want to fulfil their dreams and try everything to make their dreams come true. A lot of girls at the age of fourteen have dreams about their future and lots of girls want to become actresses, musicians or models. The Cheetah Girls really have the power to make something out of their lives as singers and give children hope to be able to do so too.

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