Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins ReidDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrator: Jennifer Beals, Pablo Schreiber, Benjamin Bratt, Fred Berman, Ari Fliakos, Judy Greer, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee, Julia Whelan, Jonathan Davis, Henry Leyva, Oliver Wyman, Nancy Wu, P.J. Ochlan, Arthur Bishop, Holter Graham, Brendan Wayne, Pete Larkin, Alex Jenkins Reid, Robert Petkoff, Sara Arrington
Length: 9 hrs, 3 mins
Published by Random House Audio on March 5, 2019
Genres: Historical
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they 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.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, 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 the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

These days, I haven’t been reviewing too many audiobooks, mostly because I only review books that really stood out positively for me. I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks, but the nature by which I select audiobooks means that favorites can be few and far between. Authors I already know and love as well as one of my favorite genres (romance), I generally will not listen to on audio for a couple of different reasons. This means that I tend to listen to books I was on the fence about reading in the first place or completely random books that seem like they have good narration. I like most of what I listen to but it doesn’t necessarily end up being something I love. Well, Daisy Jones & The Six is absolutely fucking fantastic on audio, and I’d recommend that format for anyone who can manage to listen to audiobooks.

Watching the reviews roll in for Daisy Jones & The Six has been really fascinating, because it’s one of those books that people have either really loved or felt completely disappointed by, given that the expectations for any Taylor Jenkins Reid novel are out-of-this-world high. Now that I’ve read the book, I totally understand, and there’s a reason that the success rate on audiobook is so much higher.

Daisy Jones & The Six is a biography of a fictional rockband, recounted in interviews with band members and other people acquainted closely or distantly with the band. Initially, it feels more like a biography of Daisy Jones but then the focus shifts to The Six, and then it’s on all of them together, as they join forces. There’s pretty much nothing about this book that seems similar to what Reid has done before, though admittedly I’ve only read (and loved) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Reading this book is like watching a documentary of a band, only it’s not a real band so you don’t have an initial connection to anything. It’s a bit of a tough sell, and I wasn’t at all sure I would enjoy it, because I’m not interested in the sex and drugs and private lives of the rockers part of rock and roll. But the audiobook really made it feel like you were watching a documentary, and it brought the whole thing to life. Penguin Random House went all out with this audiobook with a full cast of narrators, including celebrities. If I just had the names of the characters to go by, I think I would have had more trouble remembering who was who, but with both names and voices, the audio made it really clear, even in the parts where the person talking switches back and forth every couple of sentences.

On a larger scale, the plot of Daisy Jones & The Six didn’t really have that much going on, I don’t think. I really don’t tend to watch or read band biographies, but even so the story felt very familiar. At the start, you can probably guess a lot of the outcomes and be correct, but, in the small scale, a lot plays out in ways I wouldn’t expect, and those are the moments that made this book shine. Well, that, and the way each person remembers moments a bit differently. That makes everything feel a bit more real than a traditional biography format.

The cover and the title put a lot of the focus on Daisy Jones, which is both true and misleading somehow. Daisy’s sexy and mysterious and fucked up as all hell. She’s falling apart from her childhood before she ever gets famous, and it’s hard to connect with her emotionally a lot of the time, because she’s pretty much always drugged out of her mind. Still, you root for her to get clean, because she works for what she wants and she’s this strong feminist. I really loved how natural feminism was to her and how she didn’t let people sway her in that, at least. Everyone judged her for her clothes, or lack of them, but she always let that roll off of her, and you really get the sense that she dressed for herself, not for anyone else. That’s nice to see.

There’s not really romance in this book, or at least not romantic romance. There are two potential couples in the band, and let’s say mostly things don’t work out. As much as I did not want Billy and Daisy to be a thing, I was surprised by how much chemistry they did have. I guess I friendshipped them really. One of the ways this book really did surprise me was the way that Billy got clean pretty early and that he prioritized that throughout the rest of his career. He makes it pretty clear how difficult that is, how it’s a fight every day, but also that it can be done.

My favorite character is Karen, who plays the keys for the band. She struggles being a woman in rock and roll, and it’s a constant battle for her to be taken seriously. She’s funny, smart, and strong. Her plot line ends up going to a somewhat dark place, though way lighter than the main plot about Daisy, but I really loved the way that panned out. View Spoiler »

Actually, for all that there are way more male characters in this book than female, which is indicative of the era, the female characters absolutely make the book work. I’ve talked about Karen and Daisy, but the third main female character, Camila, also turns the book from a stereotype to something special. She’s married to lead singer Billy, and the way that she reacts to things is generally not exactly what you would expect, but it’s believable. I love when characters don’t follow the traditional path.

Daisy Jones & The Six will not be for everyone, but I highly recommend that anyone who enjoys audiobooks try this one, because the production is amazing.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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