Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Doubleday Canada on March 5th, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.”
Wow. Just… wow. I devoured this book in one day and I’m still trying to process all my emotions. This book is, by all counts, a stunning masterpiece. After all the hype and praise for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (all well-deserved, mind you!), it’s hard to match up to that. But not for Jenkins Reid!
Set in the mid sixties to late seventies, Daisy Jones & The Six transports readers to the most iconic time in rock ‘n’ roll. Jenkins Reid has this ability to instantly create an atmosphere and story that’s authentic. I actually had to Google whether or not Daisy Jones and The Six were real or not!
Jenkins Reid is a master of her craft. All her characters are charming, even with their obvious flaws. What surprised me the most about this book was that I’m not over the characters. I want to continue going on life’s journey with them. I want to find out every little minute detail about them because I can’t seem to let them go. And that’s not just unique to Daisy Jones. It’s like that with her characters in all her work.
I don’t think this book would’ve been as fantastic without her using oral history for storytelling. It felt like we were right there in the room with these characters as they outlined the highs and lows of being a musician, being in a band, and being human. And because of the format, it was interesting to see the same story told very differently from each character’s perspectives. The truth is muddied like how it is with any of our memories.
At first, I was a bit weary with the description of Daisy in the book. She was being groomed to be that “Cool Girl.” The very trope that gets torn down by Amy in Gone Girl. But I soon realized that that was the image cultivated by other people. You really got to see who Daisy was as you kept reading on. She wasn’t an enigma — it’s just that people were too blinded by other things to focus on who she really was as a person.
That’s the thing with this entire book. All the women, from side characters to Daisy, were all multi-faceted and three-dimensional. Nobody was a stereotype, and nobody refused to be told who they were going to be. This book is absolutely feminist! I loved the strong messages about women empowerment, supporting women, and standing up for your own work.
What I loved most is that these women had relationships with one another. They weren’t isolated as so many times we’ve seen before in media. These relationships weren’t perfect, but they were real. Even though the story is, ultimately, focused on a love triangle, it’s also a superb study of women.
As with anything to do with the music business, addiction is brought up. And it’s dealt with such nuance too. Jenkins Reid managed to capture the dark and devastating nature of addiction. While the era was all about glamorizing drugs, the book doesn’t do that. It exposes the truth about substance abuse while also showing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery is possible even though it’s a choice to make every single day.
And it would be a terrible review if I didn’t mention the songs! It’s one thing to be able to write a novel, but to also be able to write lyrics too? I appreciate that Jenkins Reid included the lyrics to the songs at the end of the book. She has a way with words because even though I had no idea about the melody of the arrangement of the songs, I was still affected by the lyrics. I can’t wait to hear the songs when the TV series comes out!
At the core of the story, it’s about love. I thought this was a intricate look at relationships. You can love a friend, you can love your spouse, and you can love someone who’s your artistic soulmate.
As for the main event… the twist. I didn’t see it coming. I wasn’t shocked by it, but I appreciated the reveal of who the interviewer was. It made everything come together full circle and added another layer to the story.
Normally, I’m bothered by open endings, but this one felt organic. It felt like it was meant to be. I remain utterly enchanted and mesmerized by this book. I want to reread it immediately. I just want to dive right back into that world and get lost in it with these characters.
Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the rock bands of the ’70s, and The Civil Wars, pick this up if you want to read about a band who lived and breathed by their art. And one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read about.