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Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

In Daisy Jones & The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid charts the trajectory of a young woman who goes from hard-partying groupie to ubiquitous band’s frontwoman in 1970s LA.

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split.

Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently.

The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed.

Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

The gorgeous cover gave me a pretty good idea that this was the story of a seventies band and I especially love the ticket stubs printed on the endpapers. I did have some misgivings about how enjoyable the interview style of the book would be to read but I needn’t have worried. It works well here and helps set the pace and tone of the novel. So much so that I inhaled Daisy Jones & The Six in one day, all the while feeling as if I was in a sprawling Rolling Stone interview or TV documentary on the band.

I had a love-hate relationship with both Daisy and Billy, I admired their creativity and talent, but not always how self-destructive they both were or how little regard they showed towards other people. Not that I felt this was malicious on their part. They each got caught up in what they were doing to the point where that consumed them. Karen and Graham were a good counterpoint to their excess and I especially liked Karen’s take on the situation within the band, her own personal life, and what she would sacrifice for a career in music. I felt for Graham but empathised more with Karen.

Pete and Warren’s voices weren’t as distinctive as some of the others in the band and I didn’t get as good a handle on their characters. But I have to say that I adored Eddie’s constant bitching. He rumbled discontent throughout the book and made me laugh, which I’m not sure he’d be entirely happy about.

Camila is one of the most intriguing characters, even though she isn’t a member of the band. It’s fascinating to see what she will tolerate and where she draws the line. And she makes a suggestion in her final email which is both generous and full of goodwill and love.

This is a novel for musicians, music fans and anyone who’s ever dreamed of being in a band or of running away to LA. (That’s all of us, right?) It’s a kaleidoscopic whirl through all the highs and lows of life for the band’s members. The buzz from reading it made me feel giddy and I’d swear the band existed. (And yes, I did try and find them on YouTube…) Still, with the Aurora album lyrics in the back of the book and how well Taylor Jenkins Reid writes about her band, the emotions they experience and the music they create, I almost heard it playing in the background while reading Daisy Jones & The Six.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is published by Hutchinson, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It is available as an audiobook, ebook and in hardback. You can buy it from Amazon UK or from Hive where purchases help support your local independent bookshop. For more on the author, check out her Author Website or follow her on Twitter.

My thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

Comments

jazzfeathers
Reply

Great review. I’ve seen this book everywhere on my online reading group and had wondered what the buzz was all about. Now I know 😉

kath
Reply

Well, hopefully you don’t know too much to stop you reading it for yourself. It’s one you’d enjoy, I think.

janetemson
Reply

Another one I have that I need to get around to reading.

kath
Reply

There need to be regular reading weeks throughout the year!

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