Monday, March 11, 2019

Book Review: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Ballantine
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author:  After I DoMaybe in Another Life
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their 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.  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."

Daisy Jones and The Six is one of the best bands in the world, but the band broke apart quickly and without much explanation. What happened?  Well, to understand it completely you have to go back to the beginning.  Billy Dunne and his brother, Graham, are in a band playing various gigs and weddings just hoping to make it big one day.  Daisy Jones has grown up in Hollywood in the lap of luxury (the opposite of the Dunnes) and her parents really don't care about her. Since they don't care, they don't really keep tabs on her. They didn't even realize she moved out, so consequently, this leads to her spending way too many nights out doing things a teenager shouldn't.  As the years go by, Daisy lands a record deal, but it isn't what she was hoping for.  So, when Daisy joins Billy's band, it takes every one's music to the next level. But this complicates things tremendously. Billy is a recovering addict and trying to stay loyal to Camilla, whereas Daisy is always up for a good time. Plus, everyone can see that she and Billy have some chemistry together; it's what makes their music so good.  Taylor Jenkins Reid takes readers through a fun romp into 1970s rock and roll culture and leave us wondering what exactly happened to the band members in Daisy Jones and The Six.

Daisy Jones and The Six isn't told in the traditional sense. Reid tries something new by telling the story in an interview format which feels like you are watching a documentary on VH1.  Readers are able to get feedback from each band member as well as Camilla and others as there isn't one narrator that really drives the story.  Readers find out at the end who is interviewing the band mates, but it's not as if this person is the narrator per se.  While I liked this approach initially as it felt fresh and downright fun, it ended up distracting me and detracting from the overall story.  I wanted to dive deeper into the characters, but due to the format, I felt like I was just brushing the surface.  I wanted so many more answers than I was getting and to truly understand the characters' motives, but we weren't allowed that.

Which leads me to Daisy.  She is definitely a character that I loved to hate in Daisy Jones and The Six.  I'm sure many people don't agree with me, but I really didn't like her. While I felt badly for her as she grew up without much love and support, I didn't agree with half of the decisions she made, especially when it came to her relationship with Billy. However, I did like how she was a feminist, but her drug abuse and poor decisions really frustrated me.

Then there's Billy. I really liked his character a bit more, because although he is flawed, he truly wants to do the right thing by Camilla and his family. He tries so very hard and it can't be easy to be on the road in the 70s as a recovering addict. Temptation was everywhere and the other band members didn't abstain from partying, so it complicated things.  Also, I loved his relationship with Camilla. She knew his weaknesses, but always supported him and in turn, he was very loyal.  She was an amazing character and probably one of my favorites.

The dynamic of the band definitely kept me flipping the pages in Daisy Jones and The Six. I sort of guessed as to why the band broke up; I mean you could see it from a mile away, but I was invested by that point and wanted to know how it all worked out.  The first half of the novel wasn't as compelling as I would have hoped for, but once the band took off and their fame skyrocketed, I was hooked.

The setting of the 1970s is problematic for me in Daisy Jones and The Six. It's definitely not a favorite time period of mine. I am not interested in reading about drug addicts, free love, and drug abuse, so this aspect of the story got old for me. Fans of the 1970s and classic rock will definitely appreciate this aspect of the novel as Reid did bring it to life.

While I didn't love Daisy Jones and The Six as much as Taylor Jenkins Reid's other novels (The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo!), I did appreciate Reid's writing style and character development. Despite the story being told in an interview format, I was very much invested and cared about the characters as they were fleshed out very well. If you are looking for an entertaining novel for spring break and you love the 1970s, give this one a try. I had to remind myself so many times that this band actually isn't real, because that is how real Reid made it feel. 

Do you want to read Daisy Jones and The Six? Are you a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid? Let me know which novel of hers is your favorite in the comments below.


4 comments:

  1. I haven't read this yet, but I think I'm going to feel similar to you. I will read anything TJR writes, but with this one I am going in with lower expectations since I also am not a fan of this time period, etc.

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    1. Yeah, the time period definitely wasn't my favorite. I look forward to your thoughts on it! Thanks for visiting, Michele!

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  2. I just put myself on the library wait list for this. I love how every review I read, everyone says that the band feels so real!

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    1. Yes! It definitely felt real. I look forward to your thoughts on the book! Thanks for visiting, Angela.

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