Well that was a bit of fun!
You’ll see Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid popping up on all sorts of ‘best of’ and ‘beach reads’ lists at the end of the year, and I can understand why. It’s the story of the rise of a rock band in the seventies, with a particular focus on singer Daisy Jones. She’s a wild child, beautiful and talented –
So this is a girl that desperately wants to connect. But there’s no one in her life who is truly interested in who she is, especially not her parents. And it really breaks her. But it is also how she grows up to become a icon.
It’s not a challenging book, it’s not an unfamiliar story but it is immersive and Reid’s structural risk (the book is written from multiple perspectives as an ‘interview’ or oral-history) pays dividends. As events unfold, it’s clear that all those involved, from the band members and their partners to the agent, sound engineer and journalists, remember the same events quite differently.
It’s likely that the seventies and it’s haze of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll happened well before the majority of Reid’s audience was born but they’ll connect with the story through what it says about love. Billy, whose life on the road and unhealthy relationship with alcohol taxes his marriage says, “…when you really love someone, sometimes the things they need may hurt you, and some people are worth hurting for.” His wife Camila muses, “I think you have to have faith in people before they earn it. Otherwise it’s not faith, right?”
It is in Daisy’s love and heartbreak that Reid’s millennial readers will recognise that some things never change –
I wish someone had told me that love isn’t torture. Because I thought love was this thing that was supposed to tear you in two and leave you heartbroken and make your heart race in the worst way. I thought love was bombs and tears and blood. I did not know it was supposed to take only the kind of work that makes you softer.
There are some nice additions to the book, such as endnotes featuring the lyrics of The Six songs, but it ultimately left me wanting more – where’s the recorded soundtrack?! Fans have attempted it, there are some Daisy Jones-esque playlists on Spotify (heavy with Fleetwood Mac), but I wish Reid had commissioned the real thing, like Laura Barnett did for Greatest Hits. Then again, perhaps it was a smart move not to record the music – Reid’s writing conjures Daisy’s clear voice, Billy’s raw appeal, their magical lyrics, their smooth melodies, their catchy riffs – my idea of that music is likely to vary wildly from that of the next reader and therefore, any attempted recording will disappoint (for the record, I had a Carol King, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and Don McLean hybrid in mind).
Note: Reese Witherspoon is making the story into a 13-part television series, so I guess we will get the music…
I lost track of time. Forgot what I was doing. God only knows what I was on. I just remember champagne and cocaine. It was that kind of party. Those are the best parties. Champagne and coke and bikinis around the pool before we realized the drugs were killing us and the sex was coming for us, too.