No doubt this book title and/or author name sounds familiar to you. I’m probably writing this review five months too late because the hype was at a deafening roar during its release in March, but I’ve just finished reading it and am excited to talk about it, so bear with me. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid was announced as a Reese Witherspoon book club pick shortly after its publication date, which typically guarantees a book will skyrocket to the bestseller list. This was of course no exception, but that should come as a surprise to no one especially considering Reid’s last book was such a commercial success as well; I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, my review can be found here.
The book is written in the style of a music documentary. It’s made up entirely of people’s statements plus a few articles as background information. There is no back and forth dialogue, inner thoughts or extraneous description. At the end of the story, we learn the identity of the interviewer, which is supposed to be a twist, but I found that part unnecessary and disappointing. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. The interviews are about the fictional band Daisy Jones & The Six, which hit superstardom in the 70s and then broke up at the height of their fame on one particular night, with no explanation, all in the middle of a huge world tour. The results of these interviews are the first time the reason of their demise will be revealed publicly. We hear from each band member, including the lead singers Billy and Daisy who have fiery chemistry on and off the stage. Daisy is stunning, born to rich parents, incredibly famous and an effortlessly talented singer. Billy is also handsome and talented, and both struggle with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Other voices included are Billy’s wife Camila, the rest of the band members and a few supporting characters on top of that.
The atmosphere this book evokes is visceral; you can feel the heat of the California sun, you can see the bellbottoms swinging along the sidewalk and you can hear the catchy, slow rock music that was building in popularity. I’m not a big music person myself, (too busy reading) but you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of that time period or music movement to appreciate what’s happening in the book. The format is strange, and may take some getting used to, but I appreciated its uniqueness. The interview transcription style is also extremely accessible; there’s no struggling to learn how a character is related to another or why a particular event is relevant, the ‘documentary’ is meant to teach you something, regardless of your starting point. You are told what you are supposed to know, when you’re supposed to know, and any gaps are quickly filled in by an aside from the interviewer.
This book is commercial fiction at its finest; it has wide appeal, attractive and rich characters, an easy to follow plotline with a bit of romance thrown in, and lots and lots of drama. It’s a book that I can recommend to someone who doesn’t read very much, or someone who reads voraciously and looking for a ‘lighter’ story to elevate their mood after reading a heavy memoir or work of non-fiction-we all need this reprieve. There isn’t anything totally unbelievable or unrealistic about this work, no doubt the author based it on a smattering of bands from that era, but these characters aren’t relatable, so you won’t be having any epiphanies while reading it. But so what? It’s fun, it held my attention, I wanted to know what happened to everyone in the end, and it was a treat to immerse myself in that world for 350 pages.