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Daisy Jones & The Six

Review

Daisy Jones & The Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s DAISY JONES & THE SIX is so effectively structured and designed that I’d be willing to bet that more than one prospective reader might be fooled into thinking that it’s actually a documentary history of a real band rather than a novel that’s just organized that way. It certainly seems plausible that Reid could be profiling the musical and emotional highs and lows of a 1970s-era band, à la Fleetwood Mac or Jefferson Airplane. The book takes the form of quotes from the band’s former members and producers, whose stories are pieced together to create a comprehensive history of the group’s origins in the late ’60s and ’70s, all the way to its abrupt demise in 1979.

As the band’s name might suggest, Daisy Jones was not always a member of the band that came to be known as The Six. She started out as a groupie, the kind of teenage girl whose combination of stunning good looks and permissive/neglectful parents resulted in a lot of late nights backstage with some of the world’s most famous rock stars. Daisy had her own ambitions, however, although she was constantly frustrated by having her songwriting talents undervalued by the men who made the decisions about who was allowed to flourish in the recording industry.

"DAISY JONES & THE SIX offers an entertaining look at one aspect of 1970s culture but also delves into issues and themes that will resonate with all readers, whether or not they remember the ’70s."

Meanwhile, Billy Dunne and his brother Graham, products of another neglectful household, were starting their own band and embarking on their own parallel but very different rise to fame. They collected a talented group of musicians (the titular “The Six”), though it was clear from the beginning that Billy was the group’s front man and true star. Although determined not to repeat his own troubled childhood, Billy does exactly that when he first falls deeply in love and then, reluctantly, starts a family. He turns toward drinking, drugs and other women rather than toward his family, and he must make a conscious decision whether to get and stay sober or to lose the personal life he prizes so highly.

When fate (and a shared record label) brings Daisy and The Six together, things get complicated --- not just because of the contentious relationship between Daisy and Billy that arises, despite the undisputed genius of their joint songwriting, but also because the band’s subsequent rise to fame and Billy’s desire to manage the group’s musical vision begin to chafe some of his fellow musicians. Plus, Daisy’s presence serves as a constant temptation for Billy --- her casual use of mood-altering substances makes his own sobriety, not to mention marital fidelity, difficult to maintain.

Readers are likely to enjoy the fast-paced, lively way in which Reid chronicles the history of this fictional band (although the couple of narrative twists at the end are dropped in perhaps a trifle too quickly). DAISY JONES & THE SIX offers an entertaining look at one aspect of 1970s culture but also delves into issues and themes that will resonate with all readers, whether or not they remember the ’70s. The nature of attraction, the definition of a soulmate, the daily (and hourly) struggle to maintain sobriety, the challenge of making and maintaining commitments --- these are all issues that come up in the portrayal of Daisy, Billy and the well-rounded cast of characters that (appropriately enough) back up the protagonists’ own dramas.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on March 8, 2019

Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • Publication Date: March 5, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 1524798622
  • ISBN-13: 9781524798628