Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Hutchinson (Imprint of Random House UK)
First Published: 5 March 2019
Rating: 5 stars
“But that’s the thing. Art doesn’t owe anything to anyone.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Hutchinson and NetGalley!
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies.
I was nervous about picking this book up — not going to lie. Daisy Jones & The Six was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and, thankfully, I adore every second.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I’m thoroughly impressed. I am definitely going back to read her other books. She has done an incredible job recreating the atmosphere and culture of the 70s along with the crazy lifestyle surrounding those superstar bands. This is especially impressive given the book isn’t told in a traditional format.
Daisy Jones & The Six is told in the traditional style of other oral history music biographies. It reminds me of the Please Kill Me: The Uncensored History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. The narrative is pieced together with interviews from Daisy and the band, along with music producers, friends, family, managers and music journalists. Each interview has been cut up and mixed together to create this rich tapestry of events.
The interviews form the storied histories going back to Daisy’s childhood and the formation of the band The Six. It includes everything from how Daisy joined the band to their rise to stardom and their swift implosion. Yes, the band has the explosive feel of Fleetwood Mac. There are too many personalities, too many drugs and harsh, angry songs about each other. The homage to Fleetwood Mac I don’t feel is a rip-off or inauthentic in any way but rather a celebrates them and the classic rock’n’roll lifestyle.
The thing I love most about the style is the contradicting story is from person to person. It goes to highlight the subjectivity of memory. What you were fixated on or what you remember is different from those around you. Add in drugs, alcohol and a touring band then you’re faced with a whole cast of unreliable narrators. You’re left to sieve through the stories and events to get to the heart of what happened.
The overall tone of the characters interviews is conversational. It feels like they are sitting across from the coffee table. I was never bored even though there is quite a lot of telling rather than showing. The characters personalities colour their interview. Daisy and Billy are headstrong and, at times, unapologetic; Karen is more reserved, focusing on the music; The bitterness and unresolved rage is the key feature to most of Eddie’s interview; and there’s a wistful sadness in Graham’s recollection. Going through the history it’s no wonder this band broke up and even as they tell it years on, you can feel the emotion, ego and pride coming off the page.
Although the band is fictional, I love the nods Reid includes to the actual history and setting of the California music scene. The band plays at the iconic venue the Whisky Go Go and record at the infamous Sound City recording studio. These features work to ground the narrative in the place and era.
I have my fingers and toes crossed that there be a miniseries or movie waiting in the wings for this book. The story has this cinematic feeling. Also, Reid has included the lyrics of the band’s songs. I need to hear these songs.
The only thing I love just as much as books is music and Daisy Jones & The Six is the perfect combination of the two. I highly recommend. It’s perfect for fans of Fleetwood Mac or just the fans of old-fashion rock’n’roll.