Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is released on 5th March 2019 in the UK.
Party with rock stars, tour the world and dance on stage with Daisy Jones and the Six.
Daisy Jones and the Six were THE band of the 1970s. The summer of 1979 belonged to the band – that is, until they broke up. Decades after their final stadium performance, the band decide to set the record straight and explain why they broke up.
Told in interview format, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel allows different narratives to intersect and document the history of the band. This format quickly reveals there is not one single truth as each character remembers events differently. Whether under the influence, distracted by other events, or witnessing only fragments of the situation, all of these characters tell a version of the truth. It’s their truth and it is up to the reader to find the hard facts in all the accounts documented.
This novel is very well researched and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s influences are clear in the narrative. Daisy Jones’ life parallels that of Pamela Des Barres as well as a few others from the supergroup GTO’s, Billy Dunne resembles Russell from Stillwater in Almost Famous (2000), there are even hints of Frank Zappa and his groupie supergroup. To an extent, Daisy Jones feels like a really fun 70’s fan fiction; however, what moves Daisy Jones away from being just a nostalgic period novel is Reid’s engagement with the #MeToo movement and her rewriting of the rock’n’roll muse narrative.
Although Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous has Penny Lane leading its marketing campaign, the film centres on 15-year-old William coming of age and becoming a music journalist. Up until the 2018 edition of Pamela Des Barres’ infamous memoir I’m With the Band, the preface for the memoir were written by men who emphasised Barres’ sex appeal when sex takes up a small portion of the narrative. There are plenty of men in Reid’s story however they do not control the narrative – the women do. Daisy acknowledges she is made an object for the male gaze yet she takes control over that role and manipulates the male gaze to benefit her career and the lives of the women around her. Men in the narrative – and some women – discuss Daisy by her appearance only and not her talent. Yet, Daisy still dominates the narrative by vocalising the work she has put into the band and her other projects.
Out of all the characters, Karen left the biggest impression on me. Karen sits between the liberated rock star that Daisy embodies and the more traditional lifestyle Camilla contributes to by staying at home with Billy’s children. Karen feels like she has to choose career or family and whether she can have a conservative or liberal lifestyle. Daisy is an ideal whereas Karen is a reality for many women in music. I sympathise with Karen the most as she has an internal struggle between being a career driven woman and also having a family and a sense of stability. As a contemporary audience, we know Karen can have both in her life; however, working in a male-dominated industry – especially in the 1970s – Karen must sacrifice something in her life. Karen is not a product of her time; she represents contemporary women in many industries. Women in music still face the pressures of picking either career or family as music venues and the nature of the music industry makes accessibility for families difficult. The character of Karen highlights the struggles women face in music both then and now and hopefully Reid’s novel sheds light on that for many readers.
This is an incredibly enjoyable and addictive read. The characters mirror so many famous individuals in music and pop culture that it is hard to separate these fictional people from reality. Being told in an interview format makes the novel feel real as it is easy to be caught up in the myth of Daisy Jones and the Six. This novel will make a great summer read. Believe the hype and join it.