Book Review – Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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So, on Wednesday I promised that I’d get my review of Daisy Jones & The Six written up today. I had the day off so I could have done it at any time. When am I writing this? Just before bed time. I just got so carried away with my bank holiday vibes today and basically did nothing. Sometimes I do scare myself with my ability to just do nothing. I’ve always told people that if I win the lottery (I don’t play so no chance) I’d not want to give up work. “I’d just get too bored,” I tell them. Not true. I could easily waste my life just lying in bed, watching Netflix, and reading books. Would it be healthy? Not at all. Would it be fulfilling? Of course not. Would I be wasting my time on Earth? Most definitely. But would I enjoy my life? Certainly. Of course, I’d be even worse at getting these posts up in time. I’d probably not even stick to my schedule at all. So, I guess it’s probably better that I continue to not play and carry on being a semi-functioning member of society. Starting with getting this damn thing written and heading to bed.

Normally I don’t tend to go after the massively hyped and popular books like this. More often than not they let me down. It happened with Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train and I’ve never gotten over it. But after loving Eleanor Oliphant last year, I’ve become a bit more open to these types of books. I will admit that Reese Witherspoon’s championing of it almost lost me but that cover is a hard thing to resist. And you can barely get away from this book these days. It seemed that every time I opened Instagram somebody else was raving about it. So, I jumped straight in and, reader, I loved it. As soon as I saw the documentary style format I was hooked. I’m a sucker for a quirky style and this was so digestible and engaging. It felt fresh and it felt real. It was easy to imagine the whole thing playing out as talking heads on one of those Behind the Music style shows.

Daisy Jones & The Six tells the untold story behind the split of the biggest band of the 60s and 70s. For years, nobody has ever been sure of why, off the back of a massive album, the group went their separate ways. Through interviews with the band members and the people closest to them, this novel seeks to get to the heart of the matter and reveal secrets that have been hidden for decades. The band was a meeting of minds between rock band The Six and beautiful wild child Daisy Jones. The two are pushed together by their management despite the tension that erupt between The Six’s lead singer, Billy Dunne, and Jones. Not that it matters anyway because Daisy’s inclusion of the band lands them their biggest hit to date. It only makes sense that they join forces for a whole album. But, thanks to Daisy’s addictive personality, cracks start to appear until, one day, it blows up in everyone’s face.

There is a lot of context to get through in the story before we get to the real point of the novel. We learn the history of both The Six and Daisy Jones and follow their careers until they, finally, cross paths. There are times when it feels like a lot of filler but, because of the structure, it’s still a short read. It really doesn’t help that it becomes very apparent quite early on how this is going to end. Meaning it does kind of feel a tad dragged out. Or it would if it weren’t for the fact that you become totally engrossed in these fictional people and their story. It’s so detailed and witty with its retelling. It feels like you’re watching a real documentary that it’s easy to forget these guys never existed. Like the moments when two band members have contradicting memories or the way it brings to life the music scene from that era. There are plenty of pop culture references but it feels so natural here.

If I’m being utterly critical, there is a part of me that feels like it completely romanticises the sort of drug-addled, free-spirited woman who Daisy was early on in her career. Yes, I know that the book is very anti-addiction and it never pretends that Daisy has an easy life. But her drug addiction is never really shown to be a problem for her career. It never impedes on her talent but becomes a part of her identity as a singer. It all becomes such a muddle that the two side start to feel a bit blurred. But, again, for the era in which we’re discussing it all makes sense. And I’m also not suggesting that Taylor Jenkins Reid is advocating that any wannabe singers start taking heroin or anything. It just feels like we never really get to see Daisy’s lowest low. And I think that would have been useful. Her final reason for turning her life around doesn’t have the same impact for the strong anti-drug message the book tries to push.

In fact, I was kind of disappointed with the ending as a whole. But that’s mainly because it was so obvious from the start what was going to happen. And, I have to say, the final chapter (only a page long) has to be the worst epilogue that I’ve read to a story since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s all very How I Met Your Mother and I felt like it watered down such a strong ending. And ending that, on its own, was both painful but hopeful. Instead, it was added to with the hopes of giving readers a happy ending. Of offering a resolution to something that was already resolved. It just seems kind of childish when compared to the rest of the book.

But, ultimately, I’m glad I read Daisy Jones & The Six. It was a super easy and enjoyable read that I sped through. It kept me up so many nights in a row that I was an absolute wreck this week at work. So, it might not be the greatest thing I’ve ever read but it was memorable. And, just I ignore the end of Deathly Hallows, I can just stop reading this book a little earlier.

Author: Murdocal

Who is Murdocal? A casual critic who is a little bit too obsessed with pop culture. A young woman who swears and rants much more than she knows she should whilst trying to make her way in an adult world she isn't prepared for. A not as recent as she'd like literature graduate who, between job applications and subsequent rejections, has turned to the internet to fight the boredom and review the shit out of everything. "Maybe, just maybe, I'm the faller. Every family has someone who falls, who doesn't make the grade, who stumbles, who life trips up. Maybe I'm our faller."

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