“Her characters feel so vividly real, you’ll wish you could stream their albums, YouTube their concerts, and google their wildest moments to see them for yourself.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Sibling relationships are always complicated. Whilst from a very young age I have utterly idolised my big sister (being so much more sophisticated and worldy-wise thanks to the additional 3 years and 3 months she has graced the planet), I have always chosen somewhat alternative ways to express my admiration: pinching her in the back of the car, telling tales to mum and ridiculing her teenage hair choices being 3 classic examples. Now we are mature adults (well, she is) we communicate in slightly more appropriate ways – being several time zones apart makes pinching too challenging anyway. One of the many passions we have shared our whole lives is our love of literature and nothing excites me more than when my phone beeps with a book recommendation from the very person who taught me to read: if my sister loves something, I know without fail that I won’t be able to put it down. Daisy Jones and the Six was no exception.
This is the story of a fictitious band who made it big in the late 1970s, with the author cleverly charting their rise and demise through the distinctive voices of each key player. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the novel’s structure – written almost as a screenplay, with a series of disparate individuals contributing different perspectives at every stage – but within 10 pages I was utterly hooked and from then on barely even registered this less conventional format. Taylor Jenkins Reid has a unique talent for creating characters I instantly cared about despite (or even arguably because) of their inherent flaws and it became a rollercoaster of emotion second guessing what would happen. The whole novel has an undercurrent of impending tragedy but I was far from guessing where the emotional punch would finally come from – I predicted neither of the 2 plot twists that hit you towards the end of the tale. This is a sign of excellent writing.
Unsurprisingly for a text written from a series of unique angles, one of the key themes is the perception of memories and the way we recreate stories to fit what we believe happened – a single event can have multiple interpretations. But there are other just as powerful motifs that litter these pages beautifully. I love the way it addresses the inexplicable appeal of art and the way it “pins down something that feels like it lives inside us… takes a piece of your heart out and shows it to you”. The book also tackles some deeply uncomfortable truths about the boundaries of trust in relationships and the way those we truly love will always hurt us. Within the intense micro environment of these 7 powerful personalities, the author reflects the diverse ways people make meaning in their lives and how much conflict this can cause.
At the back of the book you can find all of the lyrics for the iconic album the story is set around. I first spotted this before I started reading and dismissed it as an inane and slightly conceited inclusion, designed to pointlessly pad out the concept. It is a testament to the hypnotic power of this novel that by the time I finished I lapped up every single word of those songs and am left with an aching emptiness that I will never hear the accompanying music.
This book is truly brilliant and I look forward to exploring the author’s other work. I await my sister’s next recommendation with great excitement. Maybe she needs a quick pinch to hurry her up…
Added 14th July 2019
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This is the fictional story of a rock and roll band from the 1970’s. It is the story of Billy Dunne, lead singer and leader of an up and coming rock and roll band called the Six, and it is the story of Daisy Jones, a young, beautiful and sexy young girl who can sing her heart out.
They are destined to come together and create incredible music. It is the story of the demons they have in their lives, drugs, sex, ego, jealousy and creativity amongst so many other things and when they do come together it appears that all their dreams will come true.
Anybody who grew up loving rock n roll from the late 60’s to mid 70’s will love this book. It is written in the style of the making of a documentary about the band. It will bring back all those memories of those bands that had that big hit, exploded onto the music scene, and just as quickly came apart at the seams. All the things that break up music groups is here, from the petty jealousy to the hard drugs and the long, lonely nights on the road.
The personality clashes, the ego and the quest for stardom. Heartily recommenced by one of those music lovers that was in his own band and dreamed of the same success and followed these artists religiously from group to group to solo career, many times wishing the original band had never broken up.
A must read for fans of the era. Recommended for anyone else with an interest in getting an idea about how it was really liked.
Added 6th May 2019