Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Look at any reading page of your favourite blogger and you will probably see that they have reviewed and loved Daisy Jones and the Six. This has been on my To Be Read pile since it was released and over the space of 2 weeks I have ended up reading 2 novels by this author. I am always feast or famine girl clearly! I understand now the hype and am so pleased that I have now read this.
First of all, please may I mention the book cover. This book could sit quite happily next to your favourite biography of Kurt Cobain or Nick Drake. It looks an album cover of the 1970s that all the cool kids would have owned. Very stylish, much like the book.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has written a fictionalised account of one of the biggest bands of the 1970s, their rise to the top of their charts, sell out larger than life tours and their subsequent implosion and split. This is told through a series of interviews with band members and their managers, producers and friends. We witness the 2 main protagonists Billy and free-spirited Daisy Jones dance round each other, neither aware of their feelings or able to put voice to them until it comes to writing the songs.
At first, I did wonder how the interview style narrative would work. Would it feel jarring with so many different voices? In fact this style of storytelling works beautifully and enhances the story as we see different viewpoints of key events that take place during the bands history. The tagline on the book says 'Everyone remembers it differently' and this is so true. Billy believed that the band was a collaboration of all the members, but Eddie felt that the band was a dictatorship run by Billy. Other band members come in to frame feelings. One beautiful example of this is when Billy finds out he is to be father for the first time with his wife, Camilla. Billy flounders with his feelings struggling to understand them as he veers wildly between happy and terrified. It is left to Karen, the band's keyboardist to frame those feelings and provide clarity to Billy's emotions.
Karen continues to be a great bridge between Daisy and Billy who fail spectacularly to vocalise how they feel about each other and it falls often on Karen to be that person who says what everyone knows to be true.
Another layer to the storytelling is the song lyrics. For 2 characters who are unable to verbalise and remain unaware of their true feelings, the songs are where their rawest and most honest feelings come out. The lyrics serve as a guide book through the map of their relationship. Taylor Jenkins Reid has helpfully supplied the lyrics at the back of the book, keeping with all the 1970s album sleeve vibes.
Daisy and Billy are both a mess, but immensely likeable. Both have lots of heart and passion and I felt very invested in their story and wanting them not to be so self-destructive because at heart they were good people, trying to find their way through a crazy situation.
The most interesting character to me is Camilla, Billy's wife. She makes the monumental decision to always have faith that Billy will ultimately do the right thing. Sometimes he does and sometimes he fails spectacularly, but Camilla's faith never waivers throughout and her strong and calming presence can be felt throughout the book.
Comedic relief is supplied by the band's drummer, Warren, who might as well have been in a different band altogether as he is so oblivious to what is patently happening under his nose.
The book has 'Almost Famous' vibes. It's joyful and heartbreaking at the same time. Taylor Jenkins Reid has (very loosely) based Daisy Jones and the Six on Fleetwood Mac and recalls an experience when she saw Lindsay Buckingham watching Stevie Nicks perform with such devotion, unaware that the pair had ended their relationship and actually despised each other. This scene up being the inspiration for the novel.
I have loved and enjoyed every aspect of this novel. Great characters, cool vibes and a narrative that at times adds comedy and heartbreak. Taylor Jenkins Reid has truly captured the essence of the 1970s.