Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is an engrossing read that you won’t want to put down. The writing is so vivid that you’ll feel transported into the ’70s rock music scene. But what you might not expect is this story is full of heart, too.
The story is about the fictional iconic band, Daisy Jones & The Six. Their album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late ’70s and an entire generation of girls wanted to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979…until now. For more about the synopsis, click here.
Unique storytelling format
Taylor Jenkins Reid opted to write the story in a written style of VH1’s Behind the Music (remember that show)? There’s multiple individual interviews of current and former members of the band, as well as family, friends and industry elite who surrounded them at the time. The reader knows that someone, presumably a journalist, is writing a book and compiling all the interviews into one large arc. This makes for a quick read but it still paints a picture of each main character and the settings. It also makes for an interesting one as these people are sharing their memories and what they have perceived to happen. And other times, you can tell when someone is holding back about what they really felt. It’s a clever storytelling technique that works quite well.
The people behind the rock band
The story centers around this rock group in the ’70s and how they came together, wrote hit songs and experienced huge success. And just when everything was going seemingly right for the group—they break up and no one knows why. It’s fascinating to read how Daisy and the other band members get their start and how she eventually joins the band.
While the band is large, by far, the most interesting characters are Daisy and the lead singer Billy. Daisy is the kind of girl that just has it—the looks, the presence, the voice—that type of person. But she’s quite broken, even if she didn’t want to admit it. Billy also has it—but he, too, is battling with his own demons. Right when the band is set to go on tour, he finds out his wife Camila is pregnant. Instead of embracing fatherhood, he runs from it and becomes the stereotypical alcoholic rock musician hooking up with groupies. When Camila finds out, instead of leaving him, she’s determined to keep her family together. Camila is a very unique character and she was not at all what I expected she would be—her role is quite large especially in the latter part of the book. Anyway, after Billy has a stint in rehab, he feels huge regret and vows never to hurt Camila or his children again.
So, even though Daisy and Billy are more similar in ways than they admit, they constantly butt heads. It’s not until they go through the songwriting process together that they began to admit the similarities.
When it comes to stories about rock music, especially in the ’70s, there’s a tendency to focus on the larger than life nature of that era. The sex, drugs and rock and roll seemingly without consequences, right? But with Daisy Jones, while yes, there are those components, there’s so much more depth than just those aspects. Taylor Jenkins Reid has this talented way of creating heartfelt stories with characters that feel real. There’s some emotional sections that will hit you hard. While it’s about the making of music, it truly is about the people ‘behind the music,’ and how some of the best songs come from pain and heartache. There’s humanity in this one that isn’t always seen when covering musicians.
When you finish this book, you’ll be sad that it’s over with and that Daisy Jones & the Six is not a real band. This is definitely one where book clubs across the world will read! Be sure to check out my discussion questions for your book club.