Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In the 1970s everyone knows The Six. Their songs are played on every radio station, their records and world tours sell out in the blink of an eye and who isn’t in love with their beautiful, blue-eyed lead lady Daisy Jones? Finally, in over 400 pages of interviews with band members, friends and family, the story of the whirlwind rise to fame of the 70s’ most iconic rock band has been reconstructed. We get to know the former mega-stars up close and personal; learn all about their youth of sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll; see how they managed to write the songs that defined a generation; and discover the secret behind their sudden break up.
The characters are intoxicated, their story is intoxicating and this book makes you thirsty for their songs – and then you realise that Daisy Jones & The Six is all fiction. Taylor Jenkins Reid has created all these people, this perfect combination of glamour and grime – and they truly feel like people, rather than characters: Daisy Jones is the beautiful but neglected daughter of artists in L.A. who quickly finds that she get more attention and admiration on the Sunset Strip than at home. So she spends her teenage years as a groupie in the city’s nightclubs, barefoot and with her pockets full of pills. Soon enough , her voice gets noticed and she gets her first record deal. On the other side of the continent, The Six around gloomy but handsome Billy Dunne are making a name for themselves, quickly becoming the hottest band in the country. Daisy and Billy cross paths when their common producer wants to see what happens when two stars collide – and the rest is history. Not only the characters, but the whole atmosphere is so authentic, it’s hard not to think the story is real. On top of that, Taylor Jenkins Reid has managed to write the soundtrack into the book. Reading this you can hear the songs in the back of your head.
While the plot and revelation at the end are not as unpredictable as the synopsis suggests, Daisy Jones & The Six is so much more than the fun and exciting story of celebrities. This is definitely a feminist book. The women are wonderfully created; strong and dynamic characters conveying a message of female empowerment and supporting other women, rather competing against each other. On top of that, the exploration of addiction and recovery is mastered brilliantly. Billy and Daisy serve as examples for two different paths of substance abuse. Jenkins Reid portrays the darkness of addiction without passing judgment. She shows drugs in the world of glamour, without glamorising them. I also loved her understanding of what it means to love and trust in the face of obstacles. The relationship between Billy and his wife Camilla gives rise to some great observations about the meaning of marriage and the importance of love.
The ending was a bit weak compared to the enthralling build up but the songs make up for that. Daisy Jones & The Six might not be the best work of literature I have ever read, but it is an incredibly charming, super-fun and fast-paced novel that I would wholeheartedly recommend to everyone willing to get sucked into the whirlwind world of rock ‘n’ roll for a little while.