Published by: on March 7, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★
🚨 MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD 🚨
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 am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.❞
This book left me feeling empowered and exhilarated, which was an incredible feat considering I haven’t found a book I’ve had such strong feelings for all year. Despite loving The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I put off Daisy Jones & the Six for the longest time because the format was off-putting. However, someone bought me the paperback from my wish list, so I didn’t want to avoid it any longer. It took me a while to look past the transcript format, but, when I did, I devoured the book. I still think the transcript format is lazy writing and it would have been even better as a complete narrative, but it doesn’t take away from the emotional rollercoaster that is Daisy Jones & the Six. You will cheer on these characters, cry for them, scream at them and everything in between because they are flawed and that’s what makes them so painfully relatable.
❝Daisy was Carole King, she was Laura Nyro. Hell, she could have been Joni Mitchell. And they wanted her to be Olivia Newton John.❞
I wasn’t around in the 70s, but I thought this book did an excellent job at capturing the atmosphere of that era. The atmosphere of the entire book, in fact, was electrifying and compelling. I was completely convinced this could have been a real band from that time. All the dialogue itself was vivacious and fun with a lot of memorable quotes, so even if the style wasn’t for me, it didn’t change the quality of Reid’s writing. As much as this is a story about drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, it knows how to pack a punch and covers the hard topics — it’s not vapid or superficial, despite how some characters may seem on the surface. There’s a very real, raw struggle and as it’s so eloquently put in the book . . . we love broken, beautiful people.
❝She’s going to be the girl bleeding in a beautiful dress until it kills her.❞
❝If the rest of the world was silver, Daisy was gold.❞
First of all, we’re introduced to Daisy Jones — something of a groupie and an eventual It Girl — and I adored her. She isn’t perfect, but I could see why people would aspire to be like her — she is confident and in control of her sexuality. I think having somebody who was so unapologetically themselves in time when sexism was prevalent is so important. Of course, Daisy is still relevant today too and she contrasts well with Karen. They were different examples of female empowerment and both knew they owed men nothing, but expressed it in their own away. Daisy wears what she wants and doesn’t care if it’s revealing or promiscuous whilst Karen dresses down so her body doesn’t distract from her music.As much as I admired Daisy’s attitude, she is a deeply troubled person and I wish we got to know more about her redemption. We found out she was sober amongst some other things in a ‘where are they now‘ type segment, but I wish we saw more of her battle to get better. We did see her struggle in other ways, but I could only imagine what a force to be reckoned with Daisy Jones would have been if we saw her once she was fully in control of her body and mind.
❝Passion is . . . it’s fire. And fire is great, man. But we’re made of water. Water is how we keep living. Water is what we need to survive.❞
Our other central character is Billy Dunne — an incredible artist that is left fighting demons like alcohol and lust on tour whilst his wife at home with his kids. He was complex and being able to see all the layers to him was fascinating. I think male characters — ones like Billy — who who are arrogant and have the world in the palm of their hands can be difficult to get right without making them unlikeable, but Reid managed it. She showed us what happens when someone chips away at Billy’s walls. There is a real emotional range that we don’t see often in male characters with Billy. I appreciated there were clear consequences for his actions. This is not the the story of a man that got drunk, high and then cheated on his wife with no regrets — it’s the story of a man that fought every day to do right by his family and made mistakes sometimes, but pulled himself back from the edge too. His inner conflict and fear of being like his own father is hard-hitting and you understand it — you don’t like it, but you definitely understand it.
MY FAVOURITE MOMENT
I loved when Daisy and Billy realise they are better working together and decide to try collaborate on the songs. All the lyrics that were teased and the full songs at the end felt like such a fantastic edition to the book — mainly because they were good and I could imagine myself listening to the songs. Although we didn’t get access to the events in live time or full, the chemistry between the two were palpable even through the pages. They are both broken beyond repair and not necessarily good together, yet it is obvious that they put so much of themselves into the songs they don’t know where their career starts and they began.
MY LEAST FAVOURITE MOMENT
The reveal that the journalist was Julia, Billy’s daughter, felt forced and jarring. The break in the narrative wasn’t needed. Of course, it was an important aspect to the story, but there was no flare or elegance to how we found out about it, so much so that I felt underwhelmed. It was unexpected, but I was apathetic towards the entire thing — especially because it felt like a quick add on at the end.
I’ve mentioned this at the start already, but the transcript format is what stopped this being five stars for me. This book has such a strong plot that deserves to be fully fleshed out, but the interview style meant there was a part of me that was never wholly immersed in the story.
Everyone should read this book. It’s style is unorthodox, but that makes it a quick read once you become absorbed in the story. Daisy Jones & the Six doesn’t shy away from anything — not rehab or abortion — and has a core cast that either represent or oppose a lot of issues that were on the 70s music scene. Some issues that are still found today. It’s an infinitely quotable rollercoaster ride and I’m so glad I finally read this.
read it and weep,