Daisy Jones & the Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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I learned about sex and love the hard way. That men will take what they want and feel no debt, that some people only want a piece of you.

I have to agree with all the other readers, I felt like I was reading about a real band. Daisy seems born for the 1960’s, a gorgeous beauty with a free spirit (maybe at times a bit too free) who loves drugs and sex and rock and roll. Her voice may be an instrument, but the girl can write too, if only people would let her! One of my favorite lines in the novel sums up, I imagine, how a lot of women felt back then, hell likely now too, “That’s how it was back then. I was just supposed to be the inspiration for some man’s great idea.” But she isn’t playing any man’s game when it comes to her passion, and decides to write herself. The Six is a band on the rise, first as a blues-rock band, the Dunne Brothers Billy  (lead Singer) and Graham take on Warren, Eddie (after they lose band member Chuck to the draft), Karen and Pete. The novel reads like a long interview, with each rocker having their say. With Billy’s early marriage to Camilla and all the trouble that follows for the marriage tested by life on the road and children, too readers get a glimpse into how a band is made from the reason’s for their clothing choices, idols they emulate and how their partners handle the wild times, infidelity. Karen is a great character, “Men often think they deserve a sticker for treating  women like people.” She has much to lend to the band, it isn’t all Billy leading the group like it’s master.

Daisy longs to ‘make a name for herself outside of the sunset strip.’ Dating the front man of a band, she gets her chance when he asks her to come on stage, where she sings a song that has all eyes on not just her beauty but mesmerized by her gritty voice, a shock coming out of such delicate beauty. She finally has a manager, her friend Simone takes care of her like a mother would, making sure she survives the drugs and alcohol in her system while working towards her own career as an R & B singer internationally. Daisy is a mess, absolutely. Simone parties with her but tries to anchor her too.

In need of a female singer for their duet, Billy relents, enter Daisy at Graham’s behest who is signed to the same record label. Naturally her beauty stuns them but Billy is less than enthused. At this time, he is struggling with sobriety and to keep his word to his wife Camilla (also a fantastic character, the women aren’t shirking violets here). The chemistry between Billy and Daisy is undeniable, but it is a battle of the wills too. He is angry about how the song has changed because of Daisy. He definitely doesn’t feel the band needs her, doesn’t want her, she definitely unsettles him.

Then they go on tour. Daisy joining the band is what leads them to legendary status but the pressure causes cracks until the bands splits, so follows everything that happened beofre the fall. Drugs, sex, marriage, self-destruction, groupies, abusive love, friendship, chemistry, temptations- that’s just a taste. Daisy is wildly talented, tough in some ways, childlike and lost in others. If only she could rein herself in. There are a lot of sad things inside of her, drugs feel so good to some people because it takes the edge off reality. Billy says it best about her, “It hurts to care about someone more than they care about themselves.” She floats through life, and it’s not all carefree and sweet. Band members faking it on stage to sell the image, resentment brewing behind the scenes, it’s amazing more bands don’t collapse.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel written as it is, as if during an interview for a rock and roll magazine, like having a long conversation with your favorite band and learning all the intimate details. Yes, add it to your TBR list for 2019!

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Random House

Ballantine Books

 

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