Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication date: March 5, 2019
I came to hate that I’d put my heart and my pain into my music because it meant that I couldn’t ever leave it behind.
Daisy Jones is the quintessential ‘70s rock ‘n roll dream girl—preternaturally beautiful, no inhibitions, and ready to party. Except that she’s got dreams of her own and an astonishing whiskey-soaked voice. Billy Dunne is the charismatic, handsome, lead singer of the up-and-coming rock band The Six. His band’s success led him into more drugs and trouble then he could handle so now he’s sober and a married father who still fronts a band everyone wants to hear. In Daisy Jones & The Six the two are brought together in a fiery partnership that takes them to new heights of fame, but is ultimately left in ashes. Taylor Jenkins Reid brings her extraordinary storytelling skills to this new novel about the 70s, growing up, dreams, and rock ‘n roll.
What better way to tell the story of one of the biggest bands in the 70s than through interviews? Reid cleverly writes Daisy Jones & The Six as a magazine piece, ala Rolling Stone, from a retrospective point of view. It’s the present day and each character is looking back on their lives. We quickly learn that while Daisy has a scary fondness for pills, cocaine, and booze, all at once, she is also fiercely determined to get not only her voice out there, but her words. Her songs. She’s living a Valley of the Dolls life, which makes her dangerous to Billy, a man who knows he’ll never conquer his addictions, but can only battle them day in and day out. And yet, when they are paired by their producer to sing a song, a song that explodes on the charts, it’s clear that The Six needs Daisy and Daisy needs The Six.
I sounded like a cool new pair of jeans and Billy sounded like the pair you’ve had for years.
In the same way, that Reid so perfectly immersed the reader in Hollywood in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (which I loved), she goes all-in on both the times and the music in Daisy Jones. The interview style showcases the fragility of memory and the inevitable contradictions when you have so many people commenting on the same events. There are the squabbles and dissatisfaction amongst the members of a large band, the 24/7 nature of being a manager trying to wrangle seven adults into acting like adults, the struggles, the cost of fame. It’s a heady mix of pathos, exuberance, and nostalgia. Reid lets the reader behind the scenes on an industry that is all about the show and the hype and it’s like being invited to go backstage. I gulped down this effervescent novel like the champagne Daisy drank every day for breakfast. It’s delicious, decadent, and will leave you with a book hangover, but it’s oh-so worth it.