Daisy Jones & the Six is a pulpy sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s music group and their stunningly beautiful lead singer, leading to the big reveal of the reason behind their legendary breakup. It reads like the script of a TV drama, so it is no wonder that Reese Witherspoon has snapped up the rights (she struck a production deal with Amazon for a 13-episode series, which is still in development; Riley Keough and Camila Morrone have been cast as Daisy and Daisy’s BFF, respectively).
In this alternate reality, everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their fame. Daisy is a beautiful free spirit coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, going to thriving clubs on the Sunset Strip, dallying with rock stars, and dreaming of becoming a famous singer-songwriter. By the time she’s 20, her voice is getting noticed, but she needs something else to catapult her career. Also getting noticed is The Six, a soulful rock band led by the mercurial, addiction-prone Billy Dunne. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together.
Author Taylor Jenkins Reid drew upon real-life 70s supergroup Fleetwood Mac for her inspiration, but she adds flourishes to make Daisy Jones & the Six its own original story with different twists. Daisy is somewhat modeled on Stevie Nicks but comes off shallow and selfish. “I wore what I wanted when I wanted. I did what I wanted with who I wanted. And if somebody didn’t like it, screw ’em.” She’s headstrong, always braless, and usually reckless. Oh, and she is beautiful. Reid reminds us of this fact every few pages.
While I would say that Daisy Jones & the Six is a novel that should appeal to men and women equally, there is some romantic angst that not everyone will appreciate. As Daisy says about her would-be beau, the very married Billy, “It seemed like there wasn’t anything about me, any truth that I could tell him, that he wouldn’t accept. Acceptance is a powerful drug. And I should know because I’ve done ’em all.”
While I am predisposed to love this book (classic rock in the 1970s is my personal sweet-spot), I didn’t. Reid doesn’t write this one as a traditional novel—she goes with an “oral history” format, which was popular in the 80s and 90s (“In Their Own Words” nonfiction book series). When I’m reading fiction, I want descriptive prose, and a peek inside the character’s thoughts and feelings. I want to know what their environment looks like, smells like, sounds like. This felt very cut and dried. Many people have told me the audiobook is the way to go. I wish I’d gone that way.
I don’t regret reading Daisy Jones & the Six, and if you like to bone up on the book before the series or film, do check it out. Go with the audiobook, though.