Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Synopsis: "Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
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."
This review contains some minor spoilers.
I had heard a lot of hype around this book. It’s probably one of the most hyped books of the year, nearly everyone loves it (I have seen a couple of people online who disliked it), so when I saw it was available to borrow from my library in the form of an audiobook, I thought perfect! Everyone has said to listen to it rather than read it, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
This book is formatted in an interesting and unique way. It’s the story of a fictional band telling their rise and fall into fame, interview style. The book starts off with a journalist explaining who the band are and then it goes into the band members telling their story. Every now and then, the journalist will chime in, letting you know where in the band's timeframe they are now talking about and what the most iconic moments from that time were. The journalist’s identity is revealed at the end of the book, but I kind of wish that it had just been left as some anonymous person, I don’t really see the point in revealing the character to be who she was.
Daisy Jones seems to be the perfect girl. In the book, all the characters, as soon as they talk about their first interaction with her, state how she was the most beautiful girl they had ever seen. But when Daisy herself speaks, there is this depth to her and you can tell that she is a lot more complex than just a superficial girl, and the other band members start to realise that too as the story goes on. Daisy is what you would expect a typical Rockstar from the ’60s and '70s to be like; doing drugs, getting drunk, partying every day. But she also had this vulnerable side that she very rarely showed, and when she did, it wasn’t for long. Daisy was scared and didn’t know who she was without the drugs and the drink. There are moments throughout the book where you think that she is going to sort her life out, but then something else happens and she just thinks, screw this, and goes right back to it.
You do feel sorry for Daisy throughout this book. She’s just a girl who wanted to write songs. She never really wanted to be a singer, she was sort of forced into it, but it made her famous, so she stuck at it. By the end of the book, she had reached breaking point, so she did the most Daisy Jones thing and just left the band right in the middle of the tour, not telling anyone. She just got lucky that the band had already fallen apart by that point.
Billy Dunn is a character that you don’t really feel sorry for, well at least I didn’t anyway, not to begin with. He, just like Daisy, was your typical rock star. Sex, drugs and rock and roll summed him right up. He had somehow managed to get himself a wife who didn’t seem to really care what he did. She knew what dating a rock star meant, but if he came home to her at the end of each night, she trusted him. To me, that seemed a little bit unrealistic. She said she wouldn’t leave him, no matter what he did, they were a team. I get that you have to trust your partner otherwise there isn’t really much point being in a relationship with them, but to let them get away with cheating on you? That just doesn’t seem right. Kamila, Billy’s wife, was a strong independent woman, so don’t understand why she stood for all the crap he put her through. Yes, Billy changed, went to rehab to get clean and sober and was there for his family, but I just don’t understand why she stood for it.
The book deals with real-world issues; addiction, both drugs and alcohol, toxic relationships, abortion and others. It has a raw honest account of addiction, from both Daisy and Billy. Billy admits he needs help in the first quarter of the book and goes to rehab. He then spends the rest of the book fighting to stay clean for his family. You see him remove himself from situations where he might be tempted to relapse, he doesn’t go out partying with the rest of the band anymore and you see him really struggle to stay on the wagon. Daisy is the opposite. She doesn’t see that she has a problem because at that time everyone was doing drugs and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, she just saw it as normal. Both characters show the two sides to addiction. You are either in denial or constantly fighting it. Rehab isn’t some magical cure that makes it completely go away, even though Billy got sober, it’s not disregarded for the rest of the book, it doesn’t sugar-coat it, it’s something you will struggle with your whole life.
The abortion storyline I feel was very well done. Karen, the band's keyboardist, ends up getting pregnant by another member of the band who she had been sleeping with. She didn’t want the baby, he did, so they ended up in an argument when Karen had an abortion. She states in the book that she didn’t want children, never has done never will and that it wouldn’t be fair on her or the baby to bring it into the world. She didn’t want to give up her job to raise the baby and neither did the father. It's refreshing to see a book talk about this topic in a way that is empowering to women, especially in this day and age, letting them know that they have control over their own body and shouldn’t be forced into doing something they don’t want to do.
The overall plot of the book was pretty decent. You got to see how Daisy Jones and The Six rose to fame, the troubles that came along with that and not everything was solved by the end of the book. The wasn’t an ending where all of the characters were living their happily ever after.
Because the book is told from the perspective of the band, they should all be reliable narrators because it’s their life story they’re telling, but they’re not. There are moments throughout the story when one band member would say something like ‘it was in the November of that year….’ When another would come in and then say ‘it was definitely December.’ They contradicted themselves because not every band member was involved in every aspect of the story. They had either heard about it after it had happened or just saw the fallout. Most of them admit to being high or drunk for most of the story as well, so their memory isn’t going to be crystal clear. But it adds to the realness.
I genuinely believed that this was a real band that existed in the ’60s & '70s. It felt like a real memoir. It wasn’t just the band, there were also people from the record label, photographers, journalists, accountants that were involved with the band telling their side of the story. It’s gritty and complex which just adds to the realness of it. I have to admit, I did get a little confused with who some of the characters were at some points because there were a lot. But that’s why I agree with everyone else and believe that this is a book best listened too. Because each character had a different voice actor, it was easy to distinguish between them and I think I would have been even more confused had I physically read this book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely recommend picking it up if you get the chance.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars