Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones and The Six cover

Daisy Jones and The Six is the story of the rise and fall of a fictional 70s rock band, told in the style of an oral history music biography. Daisy Jones is a lost girl and a talented singer. The Six are a band fronted by newly sober Billy Dunne, who have found their sound but still need extra spark. When they’re brought together, they blaze bright, first with a track on which Daisy does guest vocals and then, when that song becomes a hit, a full album. During the course of this, however, it becomes apparent that the band are not going to keep it together and their many tensions are going to come to a head.

This is a music novel. From the oral history style to the lyrics in the back, it is clear that 70s music is infused throughout. In some ways, this makes the novel a little strange: at first, it can feel so much like a biography that it’s easy to forget the band are fictional. As the differences in the characters’ accounts of events and emotions become more clear, however, it becomes very obvious that this is a constructed narrative that is purposefully looking at how differently the characters viewed things. In particular, misunderstandings between Daisy and Billy whilst they are writing the album and beyond show how the oral history style really allows characters to clash overtly. As in the fictional band, often the other characters recede into the background in comparison to the two of them, which is also crucial to the way their comparable addictions are shown (indeed, for a book marketed as a fun 70s music romp, there is a lot about addiction in it, as might be expected, handled seriously).

Daisy Jones and The Six makes you wish the songs were real so you could hear the emotions described in the narrative. It is also surprisingly moving by the end, despite spending a lot of time doing quite typically rock biography things like describing details about the band getting together from everyone’s perspective. It is a hard book to categorise, but one for anyone interested in a book with a vivid sense of music and character.