Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: 4th February 4th 2020
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★ – 4 Stars

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . 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 ‘n’ 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. 

I was caught up in the story from the beginning as it moves from introducing these famous rock figures years after their initial success to their lives in the band and the highs and lows of the music lifestyle. The use of the interview format was not only clever, but it is streamlined so succinctly and seamlessly I could see these characters sitting down being interviewed which Reid should be commended for. It really goes beyond an interview transcript – I could see this playing out before me in my mind.

There are twists and surprises and it felt like a rock and roll story. The pain and anguish these characters go through feels real and through the whole thing you were connected to their lives. Every experience, triumph and downfall comes through with Reid’s amazing storytelling. This is a fictional account of a fictional band (but based on a real band) but I have never wanted a fake band to be so real. The way the characters discuss music and lyrics, the creation and reaction to songs I wanted to hear them, I wanted to listen to the final edits. There are lyrics included at the end of the book which was a great surprise and a great chance to see how all that talk of words and meanings came together in the end. Though, I feel this would also ruing the magic a bit. Actually hearing the music probably would take away how I imagine is playing and how Reid has masterfully described it being played.

The change of view between band members, producers, managers and others shows how the same event is experienced differently from person to person, and how someone might perceive themselves isn’t how the world is actually seeing them. Reid’s creation of these characters make them own people and they are fully fledged and formed, but when you look at it as a fictional account based off a real band then it’s even more captivating because while so much is manufactured, there are true elements as jumping off points and it’s what makes this such a great read.

This is a story that takes place in the 1970s rock and roll scene so there are characters drinking and doing a lot of drugs. This topic is dealt with in a few ways with excess and abuse but also attempts at redemption and getting clean. There is a lot more to this story than the rock and roll lifestyle. Through the interviews we hear about the character’s hopes and dreams, their pain and their joys that are deep, personal and bittersweet.

Every time I picked this book up I was drawn back into these musicians and their lives and with each new chapter, each reveal, twist and surprise I became more invested. Even if this had no basis on any real band this reads like a real account of real lives and the power Reid has in her words to create such a response from a reader and world creation is impressive.

You can purchase Daisy Jones & The Six via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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