Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication date: 07 March 2019
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Page count: 368 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I was gifted a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
Daisy Jones and the Six is the latest novel from the author of much beloved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I read and enjoyed last summer. I was incredibly curious about Daisy Jones, which tackles the history of a fictional 70’s rock band, and decided to give it a try before the hype truly set in.
For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.
This book is told in an interview format — there’s no narrative text at all. It’s a transcript from interviews with the band, producers, audio engineers, and others that knew or were involved with Daisy Jones and the Six when they were together in the 1970’s. I loved this format — not only did it make for an incredibly interesting read, it was the perfect way to tell this story. You see every angle of the pivotal situations in the band’s history and really get to piece together what really happened with the epic split happens. This layer of complexity adds so much to the story, and I think it is a better book for having this format
Like Evelyn Hugo, this book traces a life of opulence that most of us mortals do not see, and I’m always interested in these kinds of stories. The 70’s rock scene in Los Angeles was pretty intense, and although I cannot attest to the time period, I think she manages to capture it very well. The sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll lifestyle isn’t glamorised — the book is rife with addiction of all kinds — but she still manages to capture that 70’s rock vibe. But it’s not all the gritty rock n’ roll lifestyle. The book has a heavy focus on the technical side of being in a band. They tour, of course, but they also write and record their music. The book dragged a little in the middle as they’re writing, recording, and mixing their smash-hit album Aurora. It slowed the story down for me, however it was still interesting enough for me to continue on with the book
My main hope going into Daisy Jones was for morally grey and unlikable characters, which were the high point of Evelyn Hugo for me. Indeed, the characters in Daisy Jones are shades of grey. Most of them are completely awful and horrible people, but Reid still manages to make them interesting. Daisy isn’t our main focus, but she’s a prominent part of the book and such a fascinating character. She’s so glamorous, but because you see her point of view, as well as the points of view of others around her, you realise what a tragic figure she is. My main criticism of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was that Evelyn outshone everyone else, relegating them to the forgettable background. I really loved the way the interview format gives each of Daisy’s band mates a chance to shine and you really get a great sense of each character — Daisy is the star of the show, but everyone else is a memorable contributor to the story too.
Daisy Jones and the Six may be riding the popularity of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, however I think that Daisy Jones is the better book. A fast-paced, emotional, and nostalgic book, reading Daisy Jones and the Six is like watching the juiciest episode of VH1’s Behind the Music.
CW: drug and alcohol abuse, abortion
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