Do you remember the much loved but short lived rock band Daisy Jones and the Six? Of course you don’t, they never existed, apart from within the pages of the wonderfully crafted and original novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s originality comes by the way the story is told. Through a series of interviews with members of a long disbanded rock ensemble, originally formed in the 70’s, we are invited into their world and into their lives. This form fools the reader into actually believing in the events presented, the love, the hate, the sex, drugs and all that rock music in the 70’s entailed. I found myself wrapped up in the story, and though I am no music aficionado, I was taken in. I believed, for a moment that the songs, riffs and music collaborations truly existed. And in knowing they they never did, I wished they had.
However one could say that, in a way, they did. Bands like Daisy Jones and the Six possibly existed through the like of Fleetwood Mack. I suppose because many know the history of such bands such and are aware of the fall-outs and the fights, what inspires them and how their music was conceived, then it is easy to relate to a story such as Daisy Jones and the Six.
The interviews take on a logical order from the beginnings of The Six, starting with the two brothers Billy and Graham Dunne. Others follow but when they decide they need a female to duet a song, a struggling songwriter named Daisy Jones is brought in. At first there is conflict. Daisy is just too headstrong for Billy’s liking but eventually their collaboration turns the band into a chart hitting success.
There’s few surprises and the story does feel familiar but when you begin to think them as real you know the author has written with heart and a understanding of her subject and her characters. What it doesn’t do is pull punches. Rock bands in the 70’s were known for their drug fuelled parties, binge drinking and casual sex. Daisy is no stranger to any of these. Amidst all that, however, are themes of loyalty, love, family, faith and forgiveness. The long suffering wife of Billy Dunne, on speaking of faith says “you have to have faith in people before they earn it, otherwise its not faith”. I think that is very true.
But most of all it is a story about how we remember and what we choose to forget. As I read the interviews the thing that grabbed me most was the inconsistencies of each characters view on key events. In talking about how the name came about each member had a different version. This theme of memory is also brought out in song (well in lyrics – there is no music though I wish there were) particularly in the song ‘Midnights’. The song is all about what we choose to remember which highlights what is important to us. And that is, ultimately what Daisy Jones and the Six is about. What they all remember, and what is most important to them.
It’s not a long read by any means and, for me, it was a surprise. I don’t normally read books like this but I’d read so much about it prior to release that I thought I had to give it a go. I’m glad I did. Apparently it is being made into a T.V. series.
You can get Daisy Jones and the Six from Amazon at this link.