Title: Daisy Jones & The Six
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: March 2019
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Summary: Daisy Jones & The Six is an oral history of how this iconic late 1970s/early 1980s rock n’ roll band came to form to write their beloved album and their subsequent and sudden collapse. Daisy Jones is a neglected, rich, socialite floating in and out of the hottest clubs in L.A.’s Sunset Strip. She dabbles in drugs and singing and sex and not giving a f***. The Six is a band coming up out of Pittsburgh seeking to become the next big rock n’ roll ensemble, grinding it out trying to make it big. When these two entities come into contact there are sparks, but eventually they catch fire and burn out. The journey is thrilling and salacious.
Why I Recommend: This book is written like a collection of interviews that is reminiscent of Behind the Music or something of that breed. An in-depth look at a band, the stories that led them to creating iconic songs on beloved albums, told from the members of the band and those that surrounded them. The story is told entirely in snippets of stories told by numerous characters. It is as if the interviewer interviewed each of them about key aspects of their journey and then cut and pasted each of their responses and perspectives of how events unfolded in a chronological way to more fully detail what happened. I am in awe of TJR’s ability to pull this off in the big way that she did. This approach to telling this story was incredibly effective. All of these perspectives and the insight they provide about the same events created such depth and complexity that a traditionally narrated story may have missed. Furthermore, the interview/oral history technique was familiar in the ways others have told the stories of real rock bands, so it was so easy to imagine that Daisy Jones & The Six was a real band.
On that note, I was so impressed with how TJR was able to get me to care for this completely fictitious band and their completely fictitious songs. The way she leads into the development of how each song was written, recorded, and performed made me practically hear the songs. I am DYING to hear people take on these songs and try to build them out with all of the direction that TJR gave in her writing. The ways in which she described how Daisy and Billy came to be inspired to write a song and then work together with all of the experiences and emotions they each brought to create something better was fascinating. I know nothing about music and song writing, but it seemed so authentic and plausible how TJR described the process of writing and composing songs for an album.
The characters of this novel are deeply flawed. Pretty much every single one of them had immensely unlikable elements to their development, but I loved each and every one of them. I loved reading them each tell their version of the same story in differing ways and how that revealed their relationship with each other and their place in the band. There was so much tension and vying for power. The story-telling technique TJR used was extremely impactful in divulging all of this.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has dived into new genres with her two most recent books, departing from her traditional contemporary women’s fiction into historical fiction following fierce women. I am so happy she is moving into this newer space and look forward to see where she heads next. Although I really liked her previous books, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and this book are putting her into a new league. Twice now she has written characters who are fictional, but nearly walk and breath as realistically as the famous people that she is mimicking. You will wonder from time-to-time if maybe this was an actual band and you just missed it, that’s how good this is. I think this might be my favorite TJR to date, surpassing my beloved One True Loves. If you know me or have been following this blog at all, I think you will understand how big of a statement that is.
P.S. After Googling the book a bit to see if anyone has posted any good attempts at one of these songs (please link to them below if you find them!!) I discovered that Reese Witherspoon is working with Amazon to produce a 13 episode mini-series. That is the exact perfect format and I cannot wait for that to be made!!