by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This brilliant book is ridiculously cool. Being a New York Times bestseller is always a good start. It had me dreaming of long hair, bare feet and dancing, whilst singing Tiny Dancer. Whenever I have been to see live music there has been that one girl singing and dancing with a tambourine or Cabasa, that everybody can’t take their eyes off; this book is that girl.
You have not seen anything until you’ve seen Daisy Jones dancing on a piano in a fur coat with no shoes on singing “Mustang Sally”.Graham Dunne
Daisy Jones and the Six tells the story of how a 70’s band got together, and ultimately broke apart. It lets you into the psyche of Daisy Jones, and all that love her, The Six and all the talent and personalities.
Imagine the best rock documentary about your favourite band, the band that wrote the songs that made you feel that you were understood. This book is that documentary. The interview style of writing draws you in like you are part of the secret. This may be seen as annoying or hard to follow. Critics would say that it may not give the character stories depth of description. For me, I felt that I was earwigging on other people’s conversations, other people’s lives; I had access to behind the scenes, to a party that I had not been invited to.
The conversation and the story are given new depths and directions because every situation is described by more than one character, more than one voice. You are given a virtual reality, three hundred and sixty degree view of every celebration, cross word and truth told. All be it, not everybody remembers the truths in the same way. This for me is the beauty.
The characters feel real from the start. I wanted to be Daisy Jones and I wanted Billy Dunne to love me. The reader feels this way even when you know Billy Dunne is just another narcissistic, needy, tortured music man. Daisy is a little rich girl, although an ambitious one, with an outstanding beauty and an even more outstanding voice, that wants to be loved. But, the one big difference between Daisy and other would be groupies, is her inner strength, self-confidence and awareness of her own being. Daisy knows who she wants to be, and that certainly was not secondary to any other person.
“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.Daisy Jones
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.”
It is quotes like this, that raise the book from having another male lead controlling the narrative. Daisy is the subject of the gaze as well as the gazer; Billy is the subject of the gaze as well as the gazer. This is seen throughout the interaction with all the characters, the way they look, and communicate with both Billy, Daisy and each other. The female characters in the book are fundamental to the success of the band, and therefore the book. With the rock and roll girls Daisy and Karen sitting alongside Camila holding together her man and her family. The book is set in the decade of the Equal Rights Amendment, Gloria Steinem marching forward with female liberation, emancipation and equal rights for all. It is no surprise, and wonderful that the female characters are portrayed as multi faceted, complicated and far removed from the epitome of rock and roll groupies.
I am not going to sit around sweating my ass off just so men can feel more comfortable. It’s not my responsibility to not turn them on. It’s their responsibility to not be an asshole.Daisy Jones
The balance between complicated tortured souls and a likeability for both Daisy and Billy lends accuracy to them being both leading lady and leading man of the band and their lives, but with enough likeable realness that the reader roots for them from beginning to end, even in some of the darker moments. The group of characters from the band and entourage add a perfect level of truth and insight that brings authenticity to the relationships.
Daisy and the Six is a love story, not just a love story between star crossed lovers but between individuals coming together for a dream, beginning with brothers and ending with an extended family. Like any good family story, there is love, laughter, betrayal, fun, sex, births, deaths, dramas and the boring bits in between. They may not all have got their happy ending, and it is still up for discussion of why things fell apart, but they sure did have fun getting there.
Even though the band is fictitious I found myself anticipating their next single. I would love to hear a Daisy Jones and the Six album.
This is my first read of a Taylor Jenkins Reid novel, but it has whet my appetite and I will not be surprised if another of her novels lands on my bedside table sooner rather than later. If you too want a wee look of where you could head next, have a look here taylorjenkinsreid.com
We were great. We were really great.Daisy Jones
Whilst reading this book the music was constantly in my mind, so here is a wee top ten to get you in the mood………