Book #15

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows Daisy Jones and the Six. They sold out arenas from coast to coast. Their music defined an era and every girl in America idolised Daisy. But on July 12 1979, on the night of the final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy’s moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again. Take the uppers so you can keep on believing, take the downers so you can sleep, eventually. Wonder who you are without the drugs or the music or the fans or the family that prop you up. Make decisions that will forever feel tough. Find beauty where you least expect it. Most of all, love like your life depends on it and believe in whatever it is you’re fighting for.

It’s a true story, though everyone remembers the truth differently.

Daisy Jones and the Six, a seventies rock band, tell us about their rise to fame through an interviewer. The choice of style here is interesting and unique. Told in interview format, you feel as though you’re watching a music documentary, with the camera cutting to different members of the band or crew to gain their thoughts. 

We get all of the rock and roll debris you’d expect - sex, drugs, fallings out, broken relationships, ego problems, addiction, smashed guitars, destroyed hotel rooms - Reid really brings us into this tumultuous world of fame and celebrity.

For me, the style proved to be a novelty in some ways, whilst also bringing a number of faults. As the story is coming from the mouths of everyone involved, it was interesting to see how differently people remembered things, and it was impossible to tell whether the variations were due to foggy memories, or plain lies. It meant everyone was an unreliable narrator, which added a sense of chaos, and complicated an already tense story.

In contrast, this means the characterisation falls flat with many of the characters. I couldn’t get a real understanding of who these people were, or their motivations. Sit down a number of people who have such a clamorous history together, and ask them to talk about it, they will all just bitch and moan. It became very wearing, very quickly.

Despite the story taking place in the sixties and seventies, it’s difficult to fathom this. There’s barely any mention of the culture of the time, or really anything at all that would place us in the decade. I’d have loved to have read of contrasts between then and now, and to understand the seventies as a different time. As it stood, I felt the story could quite easily have been set in modern time. 

I understand this book garnered a lot of hype, and that many people adore it; I couldn’t see why. The characters felt flat, the story predictable, the rock and roll just a little bit too much of a caricature. Maybe I’ve been backstage too many times.