A lackluster exposé of Latin superstar Trevi, her manager, and their sexual and professional misadventures with a troupe of very young wannabe pop stars.
Gloria Trevino (stage name: “Trevi”) always wanted to be a singer, and she got her shot when she was only 18 and paired up with producer Sergio Andrade. While Girl Trouble is ostensibly about the incredibly popular Trevi, it’s actually the story of this man, the master puppeteer who engineered the star’s success. Andrade trained Gloria, brought her to the public, then saw to it that her wild personality was packaged for maximum salability. Unfortunately for Trevino and dozens of other young girls, Andrade had a sadistic streak and an insatiable appetite for 13-year-olds. Once his reputation as a producer was established—and that was well before Trevino appeared—Andrade was able to recruit adolescent girls at will by promising a “performance scholarship” at his “special school.” McDougall reveals exactly what this means with a wealth of cringe-inducing examples ranging from auditions that required full-body physicals to the isolation of girls from their families—and that doesn’t even touch on the group sex. Andrade kept up the myth of a training academy for a remarkable period of time and married a series of teenaged brides, until one of them whose career never took off finally published a tell-all book about what was really going on. Why did the girls put up with it? Their extreme youth is the likeliest reason, although why their families accepted fishy circumstances is a harder call. McDougall, currently writer-at-large for Philadelphia magazine, dips into various studies of brainwashing in an effort to explain, possibly hoping to elevate the material out the realm of the purely sensational. But despite his extensive research and jailhouse interviews with both Andrade and Trevino, the work feels plodding—and overblessed with italics.
May cause the reader to feel the need of a long hot shower.