Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Daisy Jones and the Six
Written by: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: March 5, 2019 by Ballantine Books (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

I had recently read Maybe in Another Life and really loved it so when this one came out I knew I wanted to read it as well. And while it was definitely an interesting and engaging read but didn’t blow me away.

One of the more interesting things about this book is the style in which it is is written. It is told in an interview format that made it feel like a rock mockumentary. It’s kind of a year in the life kind of story as each of the characters is explaining what happened and they wrote their most famous album and toured together. I listened to the audiobook which was a great decision because it is a full cast made up of mostly film actors, so you really got the personality and different perspectives. In that sense, it was a really unique and interesting story.

However, the plot itself wasn’t the most interesting. Yes, there was a lot of drama with the band and their goings on. It was the late 70’s and so you had that classic rock ‘n roll mentality of sex, drugs, and partying. You also had the band who didn’t totally see eye to eye and wanted to be stars in their own rights. It reminded me a lot of Almost Famous which used to be one of my favorite movies. But I was not impressed with the ending. There was one twist that caught me by surprise but then it just sort of fizzled out. Plus then a larger purpose for telling the story was revealed and I just didn’t connect with that. I wouldn’t say that it made the whole book seem pointless, but the book did lose some points for me after that.

I will say, however, that this is probably a much more character-driven story anyway and I did like the characters. Because the audiobook had a full cast each character had their own unique feel and personality. The two main characters were probably the titular Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne. Billy and Daisy were interesting but they felt a little bit predictable. There was nothing that really blew me away about them. The characters I found the most interesting were side characters. Karen Karen was probably my favorite. She’s the keyboardist and definitely had the most engaging side plot. She was also voiced by Judy Greer which was a real plus in her column. The other character I found interesting was Eddie, the guitarist. He added a lot of drama to the book and I wish they had played up his dislike of Billy more. There could have been a lot more to the plot if these two had come to blows more often.

The thing about the characters though is that, they all kind of had an unreliable narrator thing to them. Not only are they telling this story 40 years after it happened, so obviously they don’t remember it fully, but there are other reasons why they might remember things differently or not be completely honest. I really enjoy books with unreliable narrators and for me, it was something that made this book and the characters interesting and unique.

All and all, this was an interesting story but not my favorite from the author. I’m interested to read more of her books because she is tremendously talented at developing characters and hooking a reader but I this one just wasn’t what I was hoping for.

I give Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Bypass. I would recommend it to anyone who likes books about rockstars or wants a character-driven book with unreliable narrators. I picked this up from the library and I would maybe suggest that. It's a pricey book.

Have you read Daisy Jones and the Six? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. Your thoughtful examination of the characters' complexities and the dynamics between them adds depth to your review. How do you think this format enhances the storytelling and character development compared to more traditional narrative techniques? Tel U