Today I am marking off my twentieth #20 checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:
Everybody knows Daisy Jones and the Six.
From the moment Daisy walked barefoot on to the stage at the Whisky, she and the band were a sensation. Their sound defined an era. Their albums were on every turntable. They sold out arenas from coast to coast.
This is the story of their incredible rise: the desire, the rivalry – and the music.
Then, on 12 July 1979, Daisy Jones and the Six split up.
Nobody knew why. Until now…
The recipient of the 2019 Goodreads Choice Award for the best historical fiction novel, Daisy Jones and The Six is a novel that delves into the 1970s rock music scene. This is the dramatic story of a fictional band comprising of lead singers, back up band members, managers, photographers, journalists, family members and lovers. Vibrant, explosive, revealing and dramatic, Taylor Jenkin Reid’s novel is a creative composition of the music scene of decades past.
They became one of the most influential bands in the 1970s and their rise to stardom was swift, but their fall was even more spectacular. Daisy Jones and The Six is the band in question and author Taylor Jenkins Reid chronicles this band’s climb from anonymity in the dive bars they played, to their huge leap to the top of the music charts. At the centre of the band’s success is Daisy Jones. Everyone wants to be Daisy, she is an icon. But the pressures of success play on this band at every level. From risk taking, to drug abuse, emotional strains on their private lives and the pressure to perform, all is revealed in this startling story of the music world.
I have heard many things about Daisy Jones and The Six, from fellow blogger endorsements, to awards and an upcoming television miniseries production. I was keen have my first taste of the writing of well-known novelist Taylor Jenkins Reid. This author has been on my radar for some time now. I chose to listen to an audio version of this book, which was recommended by a fellow reviewer. I am generally not a fan of this format, but I did find I enjoyed the style of narration offered by the audio version. With the entire story told via interviews in a music documentary format, there were times when the narrative chopped and changed a lot to incorporate different voices. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and there were a lot of different figures offering up their version of events. However, the author’s characterisation was very distinct so this aided my perception of each point of view.
It sure was a wild time being part of an aspiring rock band in the 1970s. Reid’s world building was incredible. With plenty of sex, drugs and wild times, I enjoyed the opportunity to step back in time and inhabit the world of these music stars. Charting everything from the initial formation of the band, individual music achievements, dive bar performances, contracts, recording, songwriting, touring, promotion and their eventual split this was an eye opening account of the 1970’s music scene. Incorporating the points of view of the band in conjunction with lovers, spouses, friends, family, managers and industry professionals provides the reader with a varied picture of this band’s lifetime.
There is plenty of cutting tension and undercurrents of unresolved romance between the leads Billy and Daisy. Both are formidable forces, with their own personal demons, which is recounted as the book meanders along. Love and romance also comes in the form of another band hook up, which is presented well by the author. There is professional tension and jealousies in the form of different band members pitting themselves against one another for recognition. In the end, we wonder if this tension ultimately contributed to the fall of this superstar band.
For those who are novices to the music and rock band scene, Daisy Jones and The Six offers a broadcast style look at the achievements, losses, gains, conflicts and ambitions of a band. Memories of these events are often told in alternative versions by different figures, creating a sense of confusion over the truth. This was an interesting line to take, increasing the speculation level of this engaging story.
The creative employ of an unknown outside narrator used to recall the story of this notorious band was a good move by the author. It was a compelling form of storytelling that encouraged me to continue with this novel despite my reservations about listening to an audio version.
Daisy Jones and The Six represents an inventive approach to a fictional band’s life, from conception to their expiry. I think this was a fascinating read and an interesting audio experience. I look forward to seeing it up on the screen soon. Turn to Daisy Jones and The Six if you find the music world intriguing.
**** 4 stars
Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid was published on 5th March 2019 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Daisy Jones and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid, visit here.