BOOK REVIEW: Daisy Jones & The Six

‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ will have you wondering if you missed the biggest feud of seventies rock n’ roll.

Taylor Jenkins Reid created an authentic environment by telling the story as a series of spliced-together interviews. As someone who spends a little too much time watching documentaries, the scenes set themselves and I could easily see how each layer unfolded through the various perspectives. The author’s note at the front is in character and had me triple checking online that these were in fact fictional celebrities.

The book follows Daisy Jones in parallel to The Six, a band started by Billy Dunne and his brother Graham. While Daisy is a groupie that’s trying her best to make her own way into the music scene, The Six is picking up in popularity as the seventies start rolling out the next biggest music scene of the century. When their paths collide, Daisy starts to throw off the groove that Billy has carefully kept in place as the self-proclaimed leader of the group.

The seemingly unpopular opinion I hold is the idea that this isn’t actually a tumultuous “will they, won’t they” romance. Daisy and Billy have chemistry on stage and there’s even a conflicting moment during one of their songwriting sessions that makes you hold your breath. But from my point of view, it’s a frustrating one-sided confusion mostly from Daisy’s perspective. Even then, she knows Billy makes her feel furious more than anything else.

Granted, once I discovered who the fictitious interviewer was (a spoiler I will leave for fellow readers), I came to question Billy’s authenticity a little more. That’s another reason the interview-style point of view makes this so much more immersive – everyone is an unreliable narrator telling the story from their faulty memories and opinionated viewpoints.

There are some characters I adore, some that are purely comic relief, and others you’re just meant to roll your eyes at whenever they open their mouth (looking at you, Eddie).

I could feel the personality of each character, not just as a trope or filler, but because the author went through the trouble of detailing both major and minor side stories. The perfect example of this is Graham, Billy’s younger brother and lead guitarist of The Six.

In the midst of the story’s climax where the seams holding the band together are beginning to officially fray, Graham is going through his own difficulties – and this is where he finds he’s really alone. To Graham, he’s not just Billy’s little brother or another band member, he’s the main character of his own conflict. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even have Billy to lean on when everything begins to crumble.

There are so many great quotes and one-liners that really showcase the author’s way with words, but my favorite line is when Billy says “Music is a great equalizer that way.” While I think it’s a beautiful and true statement, the irony is that this is coming from a character who doesn’t truly put anyone on an equal playing field with himself. Everyone except him seems to acknowledge that even though everyone else has their own egos they don’t always manage to keep them in check.

The novel encapsulates the frustration of ego, memory, and the music scene. It does a great job of pulling you into a scene and then reminding you that this is supposed to be a realistic interview. The author cuts up intense moments with side stories from other characters and sometimes even deflates tension with an off-handed joke from another interviewee. It’s a unique way to bring a faux-historic moment to life.

Although it was recently adapted into a Netflix series, I haven’t had the chance to take a look into how they’ve brought the songs and chaos to life. I’m looking forward to hearing the playlists, watching the clash of personalities, and yes, even seeing the changes they may have made from the book.

If you had the opportunity to read the story or have seen the show, let me know what you think about the writing and how well it stayed true to the craze of rock ‘n roll bands in the seventies!

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By Eleanor Mathers

Eleanor Mathers is a lead contributor to The Lancaster Herald. As a freelance writer with a special interest in the arts, Eleanor contributes stories about the arts and artists. Besides running her blog and services at EleanorTypes.com, they can be found behind bookshelves and at coffee tables around Lancaster.