I had been wanting to read this book since I’d heard about it in the promotions prior to its release last Spring. The title was intriguing and the book cover was as well. However, life got busy and it just kept getting pushed lower and lower on my To Be Read list during the year last year. As I’ve been a little less mobile the last few months I’ve had more time for reading – and so this seemed like the perfect time to dive into what I hoped was going to be a great escape novel.
It’s received rave reviews – and earned Reese Witherspoon’s praise (and has been optioned for a TV series that Witherspoon is producing – which I can’t wait to see)
So, knowing all this, I was excited to dive in. Daisy Jones & The Six did not disappoint.
The book reads like a rock documentary – like one of those shows you’d find on Saturday afternoons or late-night TV that would suck you in with the tragic story of a rock star or band that had a meteoric rise to fame and even more epic fall. And it is somewhat like that. I love the point of view of the story – it’s told from the main character’s perspectives, sometimes (often) overlapping a scene with multiple points of view and conflicting accounts. In that way, it is very real-life in the way it reads.
While it appears at first glance that the story is going to be centered around Daisy Jones, it’s really the story of the band and Daisy – from their humble, anonymous beginnings all the way through to their rise to fame and mega-stardom and the ultimate crash that you can see coming from a mile away.
The book starts out with Daisy’s childhood, which is unconventional and somewhat sad. A “rich white girl, growing up in L.A. She’s gorgeous – even as a child.” And yet she has no one – her parents are too wrapped up in their own lives to even care about Daisy’s comings and goings or to notice when she’s home or not. We see this fragility set up early on, and Daisy’s need to belong, to be accepted as a fundamental part of her character.
Balancing out Daisy’s story is the story of the band, in particular the lead singer, Billy Dunne and his brother Graham. Once again, Reid does a great job building the character profiles and showcasing the driving factors for the rest of the story. Two brothers, abandoned by their father, raised by their hard-working single mother. Billy craves that family unit, Graham craves recognition and visibility as he copes with being in the shadow of Billy who is the band’s frontman and lead singer.
Daisy, immersed in the drug culture that was the sixties, hanging out at LA’s hot spots and living the freewheeling lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, eventually finds recognition and opportunity after being spotted at one of the Sunset Strip clubs. She viewed herself as a songwriter first and singer second and was insulted when the industry execs wanted her to sing other people’s songs. In an artistic snit, she essentially ignores the contracts, recording executives and managers and lives in a drug-induced haze.
Meanwhile, The Six is making its rise into fame. They record a debut novel and begin to tour, living the high life when they are not on stage. More sex, drugs and rock and roll – this is the sixties after all. The book chronicles Billy’s fall into addiction and how it impacts the whole band through this time – including his wife, Camilla, who has been with him from the very beginning.
The inevitable intersection of the two acts comes as Daisy is tapped to record a duet with Billy for the upcoming album The Six is working on – and what happens next is as they say “the stuff of legends.”
The band and Daisy join forces and the remainder of the book focuses on their tumultuous rise to fame and the dynamics that rock the band as they record and perform together. Without giving the rest of the story away, I’ll just say that Reid does a great job of building tension and keeping you holding your breath for what you think is coming soon and yet seems to never happen.
You want the happy ending, but you know that it’s probably not going to happen. The characters are just too broken, too messed up and the fates have aligned for tragedy not happiness. But how that actually plays out keeps you reading and reading, way past your bedtime, as you hope and pray things work themselves out and the next page is not a headline story of an overdose or death.
I’m so glad that the book is going to be made into a mini-series. I hope that Witherspoon and her crew can really give it the gritty realism that the story deserves. It’s got all of the elements of a classic, watch over and over again type of movie. That train wreck you know is coming and you watch and wait for it anyway. Kind of like A Star is Born. You knew something awful was coming but you didn’t know quite know what was coming.
Overall, a very solid story – and if I were the kind of person who read books multiple times, I’d read it again. But I highly recommend the book. It’s a quick read, a great escape and will keep you up way past your bedtime. All in all, it’s a winner to me.