By Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 5 stars
Goodreads Rating: 4.22
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format Read: Paperback
Goodreads summary: A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…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 and 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.
Another band getting noticed is The Six, 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 the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
Content warnings for Daisy Jones and the Six (highlight over to read):
Drugs, Addiction, Overdose, Abortion, Disordered Eating
I cannot even explain how much I loved this book. From start to finish, I was HOOKED. Taylor Jenkins Reid created a world that felt completely real and filled with some of the most complicated characters I’ve ever grown to love. After reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I was worried that my expectations would be too high and I’d be disappointed, but that was far from the case. If anything, Daisy Jones was even more well written, at least from a character development perspective. I would say that Seven Husbands had a slightly more interesting and well developed plot (from my perspective) but Daisy Jones had better characters.
The characters in question are Daisy Jones, Billy Dunn, Camila, Graham Dunn, and Karen Karen. There were others, of course (the band was made up of six people plus Daisy), but these were the main characters that the plot was based around. Daisy Jones was a naturally gorgeous girl who’d left home at 16 and quickly got addicted to drugs. She was born rich, raised rich, and continued to be rich, so rather than spiraling into an addict on the street, she spiraled into a party girl at the center of the 1970s LA strip. Despite her narcissism and array of other flaws, she’s as endearing as she is complicated.
Billy Dunn is just a boy who wants to start a rock and roll band. He ends up forming one with his brother Graham, another set of brothers named Eddie (rhythm guitar) and Pete, a man named Warren (drums), and a girl named Karen (keyboard). With Billy on lead vocals, they end up calling themselves The Six, and rocket to international fame. What truly makes their band great, however, is when they add the voice of entitled, never-practiced-a-day-in-her-life, fellow Runner Records Label Signed Singer Daisy Jones.
Despite the fact that Billy is married to Camila, Daisy and Billy have a sort of connection that cannot be broken. The two of them hate each other, but also write the best music ever when they’re together, and that conflict is at the center of the novel. Reid created two characters that are equally flawed and put them at odds with each other, and somehow that allowed us to love them each more. They’re truly fucked up people that some would consider beyond saving, but they both have good qualities that endear you to them.
Karen and Camila, are very likeable strong women. One of the things that makes Reid’s books so appealing is that all of the women she writes are wholly independent and have well rounded personalities. The fact that this is even true for Camila, who’s role in the story could easily have been simplified to “Billy’s Wife”, is impressive and makes the story that much better.
The other unique aspect of this story that has to be mentioned is the way that it’s written. The entire story is a series of short, one paragraph interviews with all of the different characters that tie together and make a story. It’s as if Reid ( / her behind the scenes narrator) interviewed each character and then tied each sentence they said together to make a full story. It never feels choppy or out of place, but you hear from each person’s perspective while reading about a single scene, and that feels really cool. It’s like nothing I ever read before and it was executed so so well. I’m fairly certain that the audiobook has a different narrator for each character, so that seems like a great experience as well, although I read the paperback version.
Also, for those of you that are superfans of Taylor Jenkins Reid specifically, you should be on the lookout for her recurring character that ties each of her worlds together- Mick Riva. You may remember him as the man who showed up to one of Daisy’s parties, or one of Evelyn Hugo’s seven husbands, or a central family figure in Malibu Rising. I personally think this is VERY COOL and now I want to go back and reread that section of Evelyn Hugo just so that it’s fresh in my brain.
The other bit of superfan trivia- Daisy Jones and the Six is being made into a television series!
I cannot give enough praise to this book. Daisy Jones and the Six is one of my favorite books that I have ever read, ever, and I’m super glad that I own a copy so I can go back and reread in the future.