Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: A review

I have not read Taylor Jenkins Reid before, although she had written five books previously, to some acclaim. If this book is an indication of her talent, then I definitely need to be reading more of her.

The format of the book is that of an oral history/television documentary. One character speaks, giving a perspective of some event, then another character speaks with his/her perspective. And on and on until all relevant characters are heard from. It is a highly effective way of telling this particular story.

And this story is about the formation, the road to fame and riches, and ultimately the breaking up of a very successful 1970s band called The Six. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll - it is all here in abundance. One wonders at some points how anyone ever made it out of that decade alive.

Daisy Jones is an L.A. girl, a fixture on the club scene of the late sixties. Estranged from her family, she lives a wild life, fueled by drugs, as a groupie to various rock stars, but she also has a voice and a talent for writing lyrics and she dreams of becoming a rock star on her own. She sings at the Whiskey a Go-Go and she begins to get noticed.

A band that is beginning to get noticed around the same time is The Six, led by the charismatic Billy Dunne. Billy is a talented songwriter and singer, but he has a drink and drugs problem like so many of his contemporaries. His girlfriend, Camila, gets pregnant, and that really puts Billy into a tailspin for a while. He's not ready to be a father. But as the birth of his baby draws near, he realizes he cannot face this little person as a drug addict. He goes to rehab and gets himself clean. Finally, when his daughter is three months old, he is ready to meet her.

Billy's was a rare (in the world of rock music) successful rehab, mainly because of the willpower of Camila in staying with him and supporting him and because of his love for her.

The strength of Camila is one of the anchors of the band and of this story and it is matched by the strength - of different kinds - of the other women in the story. Daisy Jones, Karen from the band, even the peripheral female characters, they all have their own unique strengths and they are unafraid of showing that strength and standing on their own two feet, asking nothing from anyone. What woman wouldn't love such badass female characters! 

Both Daisy Jones and The Six really take off in the world of rock music when the two of them come together and Daisy and Billy combine their songwriting and singing talents. They combine to produce the top album of that era and for a while, the band is at the pinnacle of fame and the music charts. But, of course, it can't last.

The trajectory downward is precipitous as the band breaks apart with everyone going in their own directions. How and why this came to be is the story that the interviewer and maker of the "documentary" wants to tell. Just who that interviewer/producer is is revealed only at the end of the narrative. I admit I didn't see it coming.

Jenkins has said that the hardest part of writing this book was writing the lyrics for the songs, several of which are included at the end of the book. They're not bad.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

Comments

  1. Great review, Dorothy! This author got into my radar because of her novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which was received effusively in the blogosphere last year, or the one prior to that; I recently bought it. This one is making waves as well; from your review it seems that it deserves all the attention it is getting. Maybe I'll push some other book this year to make space for this one. We'll see... :-)

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    1. It's unlike any other book I've read because of the way it is formatted. It was such an interesting way to tell the story and I really can't imagine being told as effectively any other way. Certainly worthy of a spot on your TBR list!

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    2. Perhaps you would like to read Sarah @ Sarah's Book Shelves' review of this one. I hereby include the link:
      https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/daisy-jones-the-six-taylor-jenkins-reid/

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    3. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

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  2. One of my reading groups just picked this one. Of course, I would have read it anyway. We just watched the Joan Jett documentary the other night: Bad Reputation. It too was great.

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    Replies
    1. One of the fun parts of reading this novel was imagining who the characters in it might have been modeled after.

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