REVIEW: Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins-Reid

Monday, 22 July 2019

Drift down sun-bleached streets. Lose yourself in the California sound. Find beauty in a dirty bar. Love like your life depends on it. Carry on after the party stops. Believe in what you’re fighting for. Fall for Daisy Jones and the Six.
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity... until now. Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

Until I realised that I had no musical ability, I spent most of my teenage years wanting to be in a rock band. It was the decade of emo, after-all; Hayley Williams and Paramore filled the radio waves and told me that, little girls from little towns could have great hair and be a rockstar too.
Then I wanted be a music journalist, following them along on tour like the guy from Almost Famous and being privy to their backstage shenanigans, at least until I realised I wasn’t great at writing (not that kind of writing anyway. How does one describe sounds in words, anyway? Because, I have not a single clue).
Then, the option was groupie but, of course, I don’t have any boobs so that one was, near-instantly, a no-go.
Now, in 2019, I have finally come to terms with the fact that, the closest I will probably ever come to a tourbus is by reading about one in a book just like this one. And honestly, after much rumination in my teenage years and finally growing up to have more interests than just in what the guy from All Time Low is doing at all times, I am completely fine with that.
After-all, books come without the hangovers.
Which, you know, although I would like to think I could party like rockstar, two years out of university means that fact can be more and more disputed.
So instead, I have Daisy Jones and the Six to live vicariously through and, despite it being written in the form of an interview transcript, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s expertly-crafted novel managed to perfectly evoke the time, atmosphere and people of the late-1970s and early-80s.
I was there at the Roxy, in the hotel bars, on the bus, in the Californian sunshine. I was there on stage, basking in the cheers of the crowd and doing anything I could to prolong the rush that I got from it. I was there on the arm of Daisy Jones, effortlessly cool, endlessly damaged and more than a little off my face at any given time.
The decades through which the eponymous Daisy Jones and the Six hit the big time was, in my mind at least, filled with possibility to a level that does not appear in any era; groups of teenagers grabbed their shitty guitars and their friends, got in a shabby van that one of them had conned off of a relative and really did have the possibility of ‘making it’. And, sure, maybe that is just a mirage but, reading Daisy Jones and the Six, maybe just for a second, you can achieve your dreams too.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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