Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Daisy Jones And The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones And The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Release Date - March 5, 2019
Publisher Website - Penguin RandomHouse  
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating - 5/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.

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. 

Daisy Jones and the Six is the type of book you devour in one sitting. It's a beautifully written book that will make your heart ache. It packs the same lyrical beauty and intensity that a song does. It is so vividly written, and packed with so much emotion that it will leave you breathless.

Daisy Jones is the type of character that is unforgettable. She easily steals a little piece of your heart. Her wild flower child vibe, sense of self worth, and drive make her one of the most interesting characters I've encountered. The book tells you that everyone fell a little in love with Daisy and the reader instantly is able to discern why.  One of Reid's talents is crafting characters and that is on full display with Daisy.

Billy Dunne is another character who sees to leap off the page. All of the members of The Six feel incredibly developed but I felt that Billy (and Daisy) are the ones that shine. Billy could have been a caricature of a character. He's a man who turns to his vices to deal with the stress put on him. He feels broken inside and does his best to make it match on the outside. He's a much more developed and interesting version of this character who has been done many times before. His demons are many and the portrayal of his addiction feels pitch perfect.

The creative energy that ignites when Daisy and Billy meet is electric. It is the proverbial lightening in a bottle. That spark feeds into all aspects of their relationship. It is at times antagonistic and at other times they are so in sync with one another that it hurts. It's a palpable energy that leaves the reader, and the rest of the band, feeling like they've been left in the wake of an earthquake.

The relationships between the band members are just important to the story as the one that exists between Billy and Daisy. This feels like a true ensemble piece where each of the characters adds something vital to the story being told. It is a story of the rise and fall of a band and that requires all of the members. Their dynamics are a large part of what pushes the story forward. It's more of a character driven story than a plot driven one and those characters are used to their fullest impact.

While I was reading I had to keep reminding myself that this band never actually existed. I wasn't going to be able to listen to these incredibly sounding songs no matter how badly I wished I could. Part of the power of Taylor Jenkins Reid's writing is entrancing you so fully that you believe every word that is being spun. You're captivated by this fictional band and so in love with their story that you forget over and over again that none of it is real. The choice to write this as an oral history where each of the band members tells their story adds to this as well as creating a really interesting commentary on memory. Events are remembered differently by different band members, and pieces of the story are only held by certain people. It makes for a vastly more interesting read because the truth is probably somewhere in the middle a lot of the time.

Music is such a large part of the story being told that it was necessary to have the songs feel as authentic as possible. They had to fit within the story and the reader had to be able to feel them. They're integral to the story and many of the important scenes are back dropped with the creation of one of the songs. They are woven into the plot so expertly that it only adds to the realism of the story. Reading the song lyrics at the end of the novel only deepened my appreciation for this book and Taylor Jenkins Reid's talent. So much of this book hung on her nailing those songs and she did just that.

Daisy Jones and the Six is a love letter to so many things. It's a love letter to creative passion and the way it can command your soul. It's a love letter to music and the power it has to invoke feelings from us so effortlessly. It's a love letter to love itself and its messy, complicated nature. It's a book that works itself into your very being the same way a really great song does. It is the kind of book that lingers. I won't forget Daisy Jones and the Six. I'll be thinking about their story for a long time. It is a raw, richly woven story that I cannot recommend enough.

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