For What It's Worth

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Review: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid


 
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. 
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice. ~ Goodreads

Source: Library | Audiobook (I HIGHLY recommend this on audio)

Review: First of all – it’s a blogging miracle - A REVIEW!!! lol

This book was SO hyped so I had been avoiding it. But, honestly, I didn’t know much about it. I knew it was about a band but I thought Daisy was murdered and it was a thriller lol I just kept hearing that I MUST listen to this on audio and I was looking for my next audiobook and put it on hold at my library.

Daisy Jones & the Six is NOT a thriller – Daisy isn’t dead but if you were a fan of VH1’s Behind the Music docuseries or 70’s rock bands this might be the book for you. The story of the rise and fall of the band is told documentary style through interviews with the band members and those surrounding them (spouses, photographers, managers, etc.).

I wasn’t sure I could get past that this wasn’t a real band and that these weren’t real people. I also imagine the documentary style format comes off very dry in print – hence the audio recommendation. This is a full production with a full cast so it truly feels like a documentary and I quickly fell down the rabbit hole and was hooked. It’s rare for me to forget I’m reading these days and to get totally lost in the book and wonder with baited breath what’s going to happen next. But I did with Daisy Jones & the Six.

The story is exactly what you expect. Two brothers round out their band with new members and try to make it big. They're plodding along until lightening strikes with the addition of Daisy and her connection to lead singer Billy. It’s a cliché but they butt heads and then make beautiful music together. The band has a meteoric rise which always comes with the fall. Love, sex, drugs, rock & roll – this story hits all the notes & I won’t say too much more because of spoilers.

What makes this book stand out from your typical rock & roll tale is the agency it gives the women. In any other story, gorgeous Daisy would enter the story – every guy would want to fuck her, she would be taken advantage of, abused, spiral and be the catalyst for Billy’s story.

These things are true but Daisy isn’t anyone’s manic pixie dream girl…

Daisy

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else's muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.”

She learns early on what the industry can do to woman and asks – no – demands – what she deserves before joining the band. Daisy is many things – beautiful, talented, self absorbed, a drug addict but she’s no pushover. 

Nor is Karen, a band member having an affair with Billy’s brother and fellow band member Graham (voiced by Benjamin Bratt). She doesn’t want to follow the traditional path for women of those times and a lot of great heartbreaking and female bonding moments come from that conflict.

The rest of the band isn't nearly as interesting but the dynamics and resentments still are. This is Billy and Daisy's world - everyone else just lives in it. Their opinion only seems to matter if Billy or Daisy need them on their side. Otherwise both Billy and Daisy are pretty clueless and not so great band mates. 

Billy and his wife Camilla were the most intriguing to me. They’re marriage is both rock solid and as fragile as glass. Camilla is understanding of what it means to be married to a rock star and recovered addict. Billy is always trying to be the man Camilla sees him as while being constantly pulled into Daisy’s orbit and on the edge of relapse while on the road.

Camilla makes so many interesting choices. I’m not sure I could have made the same ones or that I always agreed with her, but it takes a mature woman to understand her own worth, lay down her rules and then…trust in them, trust in Billy. She was pragmatic, empathetic and maybe a tad unrealistic as a character but it’s something not often seen of women in literature and something to aspire to. 

Love them or hate them - the characters of Daisy Jones & the Six made their choices and were willing to live with the consequences. 

This is getting long and rambly – which is why I hate writing reviews for books I really enjoy – so I’ll just wrap this up.

The book is not without flaws. Some pov’s are more interesting than others, there are lulls, and there are often abrupt shifts in pov just to add one or two lines of information that felt off, it is a cliché story you’ve probably heard a thousand times but the audiobook and the way the characters can’t be pigeonholed really elevated this for me. Even if you don't like audiobooks - give it a try. It's more like listening to a podcast.

While reading this all I could think of was Fleetwood Mac & that bands tumultuous history, so I googled it and the book was inspired by the band and one particular moment which you can read about in this article by Jenkins on Hello Sunshine. I remember that moment between Stevie and Lindsey that Jenkins is talking about and the obvious chemistry they have whenever they played Landslide together.


 

I also have a few spoiler thoughts for those of you that read the book – if you reply back make sure to add a SPOILER tag in the comments or DM me on twitter/instagram/email.

SPOILER –> What did you think of Camilla’s choice to stand by Billy even though he was in love with Daisy? I felt like she was more of his anchor to sobriety than the love of his life but – I can’t discount how important that is in a long term relationship. She believed in him and, for the most part, he lived up to that for her. At the point she realized his feelings for Daisy they had 3 kids and a family to protect. And it seems like maybe she had a one day fling??

Daisy was, by her own admission, selfish back then. And didn’t care if she wrecked their marriage – and I think Daisy and Billy would have went down in flames pretty quickly with that level of passion and probably drugs/alcohol. I think they were closer in temperament but that’s not necessarily love – or the kind that lasts anyway.

Do you think they can make it now that they’re so much older and learned to love themselves (mainly Daisy) or would they just be good friends?  <- END SPOLIER

Have you read this book? Do you love music bio's. Dating myself - did you watch Behind the Music on VH1? Does VH1 still exist?? lol

37 comments:

  1. I remember when this book came out and I read some reviews I thought oh this sounds like Fleetwood Mac lol. All the drama in that band... which of course I didn't know about until later. I wasn't even really a fan until i was kind of older, but I do remember that moment the author mentions. I saw that too and whether they were playing for the camera or not, it does make you wonder. I was so glad I got to see the band in concert too, I had a chance in the early 90's in college and couldn't afford it, so when I got a chance a few years later I jumped on it. Would have been better in their heyday maybe but still fun.

    Anyway glad the book was good haha!

    I remember Behind the Music! Haha I have no idea if it still exists though- I doubt it. :(

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    1. I listened to them a bit when they were big but I wasn't a huge fan. That's cool that you saw them because I don't think hat's ever happening again lol

      I think you can have strong connections (especially heightened in those intense circumstances of touring, writing) yet not be compatible. It was an interesting dynamic that the book explored really well.

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  2. Though Fleetwood Mac are a band of my times (OUR times LOL) and I work in radio, I can't say I know them, if not for the random song. I suppose they were never big in Italy.

    I have toyed with the idea of reading this one for a while, because - MUSIC! - but in the end decided to pass, because I guessed that it would be too much about relationship drama for my tastes. But wow, if it worked a full-review miracle on you, it must be good 😂 😉.

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    1. My friend was HUGE fan at the time and that's basically how I listened to them - I was forced lol

      This isn't a straight up romance int the traditional sense but it is about relationships so I doubt you would like it.

      What I loved is that it centered the women and, despite hitting every cliche and trope (band hook ups, drugs, lust...) it did it in a different way and didn't necessarily play out how you would think.

      It definitely was a more feminist take.

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  3. I didn’t expect much from this given the hype and the subject but I loved it, I read it in print and tried it in audio too (but audio books just don’t work for me).

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    1. I stayed so far away from the hype that I, like I said, thought it was a thriller about solving Daisy's murder lol

      It was a pleasant surprise though.

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  4. I always liked those behind the music shows. I wish I could focus on audios because books like these make me want to listen. At any rate, I have a physical copy and I hope to read it soon. I like books in weird formats, so I think that aspect will be fine. I'm glad that you really enjoyed this one overall though. It's so nice when you just get lost in a book!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I still struggle with audio but this book is perfect for the format. I felt like I was listening to a podcast.

      I hope you like it!

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  5. Music bios, not really. But I am curious about this one

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  6. The ending left me feeling so hopeful! I really hope it works out.. she DID give her blessing at the end... I'm really happy you listened to this and that you enjoyed the audio format for it!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. See...i didn't really care about their romance. I was just really into the dynamics and choices they made. It went a different way than usual.

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  7. I just love the whole era and vibe of this one. I'll have to add it to my TBR!

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    1. I thought you had read this! I think you would love it Ethan.

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  8. Same, this book gave me Fleetwood Mac vibes as soon as I heard about. It actually put me off of reading a bit I mean I know how Fleetwood Mac goes but you’ve intrigued me with the audiobook rec. I love an audiobook with a full cast of characters and this story seems like it lends itself to that. I will definitely be checking it out if I can find my library or somewhere has a copy.

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    1. I really think audio is the way to go with this one. Hope you like it Becky!

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  9. I haven't read it but I've read some really good reviews for it.

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    1. All the rave reviews put me off it, tbh, but I ended up loving it

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  10. TJR has never disappointed me and Daisy Jones was no exception. I loved how messily flawed these characters were. I mean, Daisy and Billy (but others, too) were just hot messes. But their flaws felt real and grounded and not just cookie cutter "crazy musician artistic" archetypes. Camilla was an enigma to me at times and it would have been interesting to know her better and understand some of her choices more fully. I agree that at times it seemed like Billy's tie to her was more about his sobriety and his desire to live up to her expectations than a deep love. As far and he and Daisy, no I don't think they would have lasted. It would have been wild and passionate but ultimately short-lived. They were too alike and seemed like they brought out not just the best in each other but also the worst.

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    1. Yes! I agree with all of this. It was a cookie cutter story but not told in a cookie cutter way.

      I do wish I knew Camilla better. We got her pov but not really. I felt like she knew what she was getting into marrying a rock star but set limits and made billy live up to them. But he loved her but also someone else and that's compromising a lot and I wish I knew more as to why.

      I thought they were too much alike too (Daisy and Billy) As for meeting again now do you think it was fated and now is there time? I feel like...maybe?? I see them more as having a cold (non alcoholic lol) drink by a fire pit talking about old times that's more about a deep friendship than romance - but might turn into more with time. I just didn't feel like that was true or fated love.

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    2. Yeah, I don't know about fated. I feel like maybe they missed their chance and maybe it was really never meant to be like that for them? I'm glad TJR left it open and I can't believe I'm saying that because I loathe open endings. But having them end up together would have just been too pat, too tied up with a big bow. I like your supposition better. Two old friends, sitting down talking, maybe reminiscing, mostly catching up on their lives and who they are now. The bond still there, but mellowed. I think I like that better than a fated love affair.

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    3. I HATE open endings too! and I almost didn't like Camilla connecting them again - which is weird for me too but I liked it. It's open to interpretation. I'll stick with our though ;-)

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  11. A REVIEW??? Daisy Jones deserves this review, haha. I think Karen might have been my favorite character. I loved how she knew what she wanted and wasn't about to change her plans.

    Regarding your spoiler content (I don't know how to do tags??). I liked the blessing at the end but I see what you're saying about staying after knowing what she knows. Boy did I make that vague enough?

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    1. I loved how she wrote the women. They were sort of defined by the times but not pigeon holed into it. They still lived by their own terms in totally different ways.

      I kind of felt like the Billy Daisy thing was the least compelling aspect of the story and it was more passion and being thrown together ALL the time than real. but I don't know that he really loved Camilla in the way he should have. It was really interesting though!

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  12. Great review, Karen. I have seen this book everywhere, and had no clue what it was about. This reminds me of the movie Almost Famous - not the plot line, but the concept. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I didn't either. Hence my thinking it was a thriller lol

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  13. I really love getting the behind the scenes scoops on music and movie stars because I'm a fan of pop culture. I've never heard of this group, but it sounds like such a fascinating story and I want to know more. Thanks for such a great post! Hugs, RO

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    1. It is fictional but feels so real you end up googling just to make sure lol

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  14. The number of times that I've been left disappointed and wondering what all the fuss is by such books. Not that there haven't been over-hyped books that I have enjoyed because (Harry Potter) there are, however no mater what the hype Daisy Jones & The Six just doesn't appeal to me ... at all.

    A great review, well written, thank you.

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    1. Thank you Felicity. I hear that. That's why I stayed away from it and didn't know much about it - and I think that's why I ended up enjoying it.

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  15. I don't think this is my kinda thing, but that's cool how they make it like a real documentary, esp with the full cast audio!

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    1. I've read two full casts audiobooks now and I really enjoy them.

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  16. I agree with all of this! I read it on paperback though and was just as absorbed but only after Daisy met The Six.

    I have no idea if VH1 still exists but I used to love those behind the music documentaries when I was a kid! lol. The book definitely has the feel of one.

    As for your spoiler thoughts... Point one - I think necessity drove it. She loved him, had the kids and was good for him. Point two - they would've crashed and burned. They may have loved each other but they would have been so bad for each other. Point 3 - I'd think friends... The romantic feeling would have hopefully faded into memory and nostalgia by then.

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    1. I agree with all your thoughts. I know a lot of people want them together now but I just didn't' feel like they really were an epic love story. Friends who can share now? yes but I don't see more.

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  17. Wow DOES VH1 still exist!? I am baffled that I don't know this! I googled and YEP it absolutely does! I knew MTV does because I still watch The Challenge haha. I have stayed away from this one because I am genuinely not sure if I care about the band dynamic? (Though to be fair, I DID watch Behind the Music!) But everyone loves it, so I feel like maybe I should get over my nonsense and give it a go. Great review, so glad you ended up liking it!

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    1. Eh - it's not for everyone but I was surprised by it.

      Yes, VH1 still exists lol

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  18. I've been afraid to read this book because with every fiction book I've read about the music business it's been obvious the author knew nothing about the music business, and the inaccuracies ruined the story for me. Except for We Sold Our Souls by the author of My Best Friend's Exorcism. That book was spot on. I am planning on reading this book next year, though. 👍✨

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