Saturday, January 11, 2020

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Penguin Random House: 3/5/19
eBook; 368 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9781524798628 

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a very highly recommended account of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll via the history and breakup of a legendary fictional 70's rock band. This one is a winner.

Daisy Jones, the daughter of a famous artist and a French model, grew up in LA in the late 1960's. At fourteen she started hanging out at the famous clubs on the Sunset Strip and drinking and doing drugs followed. Her friend, disco singer Simone, is the only one trying to look out for her.  Daisy is a free spirited "it" girl who is first noticed for her looks, but soon has her voice capturing the attention of those with influence and she is signed with Runner Records.

Billy Dunne and his brother Graham started the band that eventually grew and took off to become The Six. Billy is the song writer and charismatic front man for the band and has artistic control over the group. On their first tour, Billy went wild and nearly ruined his marriage to Camila, who was pregnant with their first child. After the tour he went to rehab and his overwhelming goal beyond making it big with The Six, is to stay sober and faithful to Camila and their family.

After they have one hit where Daisy sings with Billy on one of his songs, Runner Records decides that Billy and Daisy need to work together. While they are both dynamic on their own, when they sing together they are extraordinary, electric, and transcendent.  Billy doesn't want Daisy as part of his band, but they end up working together writing the songs on the album that produced some of the biggest hits in the seventies. No one knew the story behind the band and the split that ended it all - until now.

Daisy Jones & The Six is written like a documentary novel, an oral history, with quotes from the band members, Billy, Daisy, Camila, and Simone. All the characters are written with unique voices in their comments so you can tell who is talking even if you didn't note their name. While reading you can't help but envision the video in your mind, flipping between comments from the different people involved in Daisy Jones & The Six. This is part of what makes the book so amazing. You will easily believe this was a real band and real members are being interviewed. You will be surprised once you learn who is conducting the interviews and asking the questions.

The plot unfolds through the oral history interviews, starting with their beginnings up to their rise to fame. Reid definitely sets her story in the time and place of the late sixties to the late seventies. The clashes, struggles, and power of Billy and Daisy working together, writing the music, is captured perfectly. This really is a riveting and unforgettable novel; my attention was captured right at the start and held fast to the end. Remarkably, at the end of the book Reid has written all the lyrics for the songs. Need I mention that the writing is amazing? Well, it is an incredibly well-written book and captured my attention from beginning to end. I simple could not read it fast enough as I was desperate to learn what happened next.

(When I first read the synopsis for Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones & The Six, I immediately tried to get a review copy as I knew it would be a novel I would love. I never did get the advanced reading copy, but I was right to try as this is an amazing novel. Now I need to find time to read Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.)

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