Daisy Jones & The Six is a book you need to read
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed is the story of a fictional rock band of the 1980s comprised of lead singers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne and five other musicians.
What Makes this Book Stand Out
The narration of this book is unlike any I’ve seen before. The storytelling follows a unique pattern in the form of interviews or recollections from the seven band members and one other person (the wife of the lead singer Billy Dunne).
The narrator of the book is a biographer who visits each band member, and through a string of recollections from each of them, tries to put together the story of how the talented singer Daisy Jones met the band “The Six”, how they ended up forming a separate, more famous band, and what led to their eventual break-up.
This is one of those books where you are forced to check if the band was real and the characters actually existed. The writing is so good, you are convinced this couldn’t have all been fiction.
I had listened to the audiobook, and the recording deserves a special mention — each character is read by a different voice actor — which breathes life into their stories. The whole experience is phenomenal, and I would recommend this book to all lovers of fiction.
The Heartfelt Depiction of Moral Dilemma
The characters in this book are compelling. Each one of them has a well-depicted back-story, which makes the reader empathise better with the decisions they make. No, they always make the “right” choices. Sometimes, they succumb to envy, to temptation, but they treat each mistake as a lesson, much like we do in real life.
The growth in each character’s arc throughout the story is believable, and maybe that’s what makes them so endearing.
The author does a fantastic job of showing the moral dilemma people have to face while choosing between what is right and what is easy. Some quotes resonated with me on a deep level and will undoubtedly make the reader introspect.
“You have these lines you won’t cross. But then you cross them. And suddenly you possess the very dangerous information that you can break the rule and the world won’t instantly come to an end. You’ve taken a big, black, bold line and you’ve made it a little bit gray. And now every time you cross it again, it just gets grayer and grayer until one day you look around and you think, There was a line here once, I think.”
The Feminist Message
“Men often think they deserve a sticker for treating women like people.”
Maybe this is the kind of powerful quote you get when you read a book about women written by a woman.
Each female character in the book is so strong and has such a distinct voice, and they make the reader warm up to them in no time. Their charisma is such that they refuse to be overshadowed by the men in the story.
Picture this: a music enthusiast praises Daisy’s boyfriend because he wrote a song about her that did well. He makes a comment in passing that Daisy is a good muse. What she says in reply is so motivating, it made my heart soar:
“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.”
Besides being powerful and dynamic on their own, the book does a brilliant job of showing how women can boost other women up and help them achieve greater heights. The relationships between the female characters in the story are wholesome, unique, and authentic.
This was especially interesting because, at the centre of the story, there is a love triangle that shapes the lives of all the characters. This makes for an exciting study of the relationship between the two women tied by their love for the same man. I was expecting a cliched tale of bitterness and envy, but this book packs more. Oh, it packs in so much more.
The Accurate Exploration of Addiction
The book’s honest attempt at exploring addiction is commendable. It is a delicate topic, and Reid has done a brilliant job of recreating the dark, devastating comfort of knowing something is bad for you, and yet, craving for it like your life depends on it.
On the surface of it, there is Daisy’s substance abuse, but there are so many layers attached to it, stemming right back to her unhappy childhood and her inability to stick to a relationship.
There is Billy’s struggle to get past his alcohol addiction and how hard he tries to put his family over his temptations. His story is stemmed in layers of how he never believed he was worthy enough to deserve such a loving wife and how, in his need to not hurt her, he ends up hurting himself.
This book exposes the gilded cage that addiction is. About how recovery comes down to choice, but sometimes, people are not equipped with the strength to make that choice.
“It scared me that the only thing between this moment of calm and the biggest tragedy of my life was me choosing not to do it.”
That being said, the story also shows how reaching out to the right people and accepting that addiction is a real problem can help those who are struggling. There is pain, yes, but the book carries an aura of hope and recovery.
A Treatise on Love
For a book with a love story at its heart, this is not like those romance novels where everything is unicorns and rainbows, and two people are “made for each other.”
The love shown in this book is gritty and real. It is not something that just happens to you, but something that you have work for, something that you have to fight every day to keep intact.
The characters don’t have it easy. They are faced with terrifying choices, and each time, they have to struggle to make the right one, to keep their love above everything else.
A special mention goes to Camilla, Billy Dunne’s wife, who is a lesson on just how strong the bond between two people can be, and how you have to sometimes forgive someone before they earn your trust, just because you believe that they are not defined by their wrong decisions.
“Loving somebody isn’t perfection and good times and laughing and making love. Love is forgiveness and patience and faith and every once in a while, it’s a gut punch. That’s why it’s a dangerous thing, when you go loving the wrong person. When you love somebody who doesn’t deserve it. You have to be with someone that deserves your faith and you have to be deserving of someone else’s. It’s sacred.”
The Stellar Writing
The book is very atmospheric — the author manages to take the reader to the music scene of the 80s, with their tour buses, rock concerts with packed stadiums and the drugs and alcohol of the after-concert parties.
The scenes where the two protagonists (and lead singers) — Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne — perform a duet in front of a packed crowd are so powerful, you are almost teleported to that place, feeling the goosebumps erupt all over your body at the beauty of their singing.
The author deserves praise for writing so many original songs. Though there have been no official music releases, the description of the music is so powerful; it will make you tear up with emotion.
Reed’s fantastic writing makes it hard to believe that Daisy Jones and The Six is not a real band and all those concerts, all that music is only a figment of the author’s imagination. After finishing this book, you will be left with a deep yearning to listen to at least one song mentioned in the book.
If you trust my words, if you found my review compelling, don’t read the book.
Instead, pick up the audiobook and feel yourself being transported into a different world with these amazing characters you wish had existed for real.
Listen to it, for this is one of the best audiobooks I have ever had the privilege to read.
I loved this book. It has all my heart.
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