Publication date : March 5th, 2019
Publisher : Ballentine Books
Genre : Adult | Historical Fiction
Page Count: 368
Synopsis : 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. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice. (From Goodreads)
*I received an e-Arc of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*
CW: Drugs, alcohol, underage drinking, addiction, child rape, cheating, toxic relationship, death of a loved one.
I just want this book to sit in the corner and think long and hard about what it did, because friends, I’m a bundle of disappointment and conflicted feelings. If you know anything about me, you know The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s previous book, is one of my top two favorite books of all time, so imagine my excitement when Daisy Jones and the Six was announced, because it sounded exactly like the former but set in the seventies and around the music industry instead of old Hollywood. But alas, even though it had its strengths, this book was ultimately a huge disappointment for me.
I think that if you love the writing and format, you have a higher chance of loving Daisy Jones and the Six, but I didn’t. The book is written as one long interview start to finish. Divided by memorable time periods in the band’s career. To me, this format didn’t work at all because it often was emotionally detached and was basically 100% telling and no showing and stories like that don’t typically work for me. With a classic prose format, the novel would’ve had more impact. Although this way brings in more perspectives, it only grazes the surface on the thoughts and feelings of each, and that didn’t help me care about anything happening or any of the characters.
One way in which I think the interview format worked in favor of the book is in the fact that it showed how the same event’s perception can vary from one person who experienced it to the next. Some in small ways, some in more significant ways. We get multiple versions and then it’s up to the reader to decide which version to believe, to believe them all or none at all, and I think that boils down to which character(s) the reader bonds with. And that was fascinating for me to read.
The story in itself is a very good one. Despite not liking the format, I found myself disregarding it in the beginning and getting hooked on the story. I loved following Daisy as she ascends into stardom, as the band gets together and as Daisy meets billy, Graham, Karen and the rest of them. But then once the initial excitement died down, I could feel the story fall flat and my enjoyment of it die down as well. In the middle, the story gets kind of repetitive, and feels like filler content instead of something that’s truly relevant to the story. What took a 100 pages to happen could’ve been told in half of that. Then again, the ending pulled me in again and I found myself somewhat enjoying it again.
There are two things that Taylor Jenkins Reid masters no matter the story or format. First one is putting feelings into words, she just knows how to string sentences perfectly to express things that you can relate to no matter what you’re going through in your life, which is why the song lyrics in this book were so amazing and brilliant, they just wrapped up what inspired them/what they were supposed to express perfectly so, and I just found myself wishing I could listen to them. The second one is writing extremely human and flawed characters. So much so that I kept forgetting that these are fictional. She just adds a little je ne sais quoi I can’t put my finger on that brings her characters to life.
First we have Daisy, whom we follow since she was fourteen years old, paving her own way in the music industry, according to her own rules and not letting anyone decide for her. No one can make her do anything she doesn’t want to do, everything she does, she does on her own terms. She’s strong, confident but also insecure, and very stubborn. She has this facade of someone who doesn’t care but her selfishness and carelessness are very much calculated. Underneath it all, she’s very self-aware and sensitive, gentle when you don’t expect her to be. This book made me want to see her on stage so bad.
Then Billy… whom I disliked very much, not as a character (he was very well crafted) but as a human. He’s arrogant and self-centered, doesn’t trust his band and micro-manages basically everything, not letting them have control even over their own instruments. He’s obsessed with having things his way and no other way is good enough in his eyes. The one redeemable trait of his was the fact that he put his family above all else, and all his decision were made depending on how they would impact them.
The interviewer talks to every band member and then a few other relevant people, but at the end of the day, the ones that Daisy Jones and the Six focuses on primarily are the above cited, followed by Graham (Bill’s brother and guitarist), Karen (the band’s drummer) and Camila (Billy’s wife). I loved Karen as a character, she knew what she wanted, how to get it and didn’t let anyone sway her from it, even if some saw her as a villain for it. One that I had some questions about is Camila, her motivations behind certain things are unclear which didn’t really make sense since we had her talking and relating things with her own words. At some point in the book, there was a cameo from Mick Riva, one of Evelyn’s husbands, and I thought that was pretty cool to read.
Daisy Jones and the Six deals heavily with hard drug addiction and alcoholism especially since both main characters deal with them. It’s brutal and crass in that regard, it shows the bad, the ugly and the rock bottom of it all. So it can definitely be a hard read for people who’ve battled this illness and/or are still battling it. But I liked that it was so prominent, since addictions are very much prevalent in the music industry, especially during that time.
This is a book I wanted and expected a lot more from, I was almost sure it would be a new favorite. But like I said, even though I enjoyed many aspects and elements of it, I couldn’t help but feel sad and disappointed that it didn’t live up to my expectations.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Daisy Jones and the Six? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.