Thursday 22 June 2023

Daisy Jones & And The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    The McBride Library’s Book Club is a bit different than most.  Usually, everyone in a book club reads the same book and they discuss it.  In McBride, a theme is chosen then everyone can just find a book that fits the theme and discuss what they read.  I like it that way because within the restrictions of the theme, I can read something that interests me. 

    The theme for June was books about music or musicians.  I read the book Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.   Here is what I had to say about it:

I was aware of this novel for some time, because I had read it was being made into a mini-series.  I knew it was about a rock and roll band, but assumed it was a band in the 2000’s, something that didn’t intrigue me.  When I saw the book on the library shelf for our music theme, I was tempted, but let pass, but after reading a non-fiction book about Ian and Silvia, and still having a week to go before the Book Club gathering, I did check out “Daisy Jones” to read.

I am glad I did because I really enjoyed it.  I was delighted to discover it was about an LA rock band in the 1970’s, a time period and subject I was very interested in.

The character Daisy Jones, was a stunningly beautiful blue eyed (unlike the woman on the book’s cover) young woman who grew up starved of love.  She had wealthy parents who provided for her all the material things she needed, but deprived her of the one thing she wanted;  love.  As an unloved teen, she gravitated to vibrant and dynamic music scene in LA.  She became a groupie, having affairs with musicians, drinking, and doing drugs.  

She was dissatisfied with her life and strove to become a songwriter.  She had a natural talent for songwriting and an amazing textured singing voice, but when she was finally picked up by a record company, they ignored the songs she has written, and forced her to record the songs of others.  Her album had moderate success, but she wanted to sing her own songs and began to rebel against her record company. 

At the same time when Daisy was growing up in LA, in Pennsylvania, the Dunne brothers were growing up with their mother, after their deadbeat alcoholic father had abandoned the family.  The brothers found comfort in playing rock music and starting a band.  Billy, the older brother was a natural leader, great songwriter, and singer, with the rare magical aura some musicians possess.  Graham, was also a competent musician.  The band they formed had growing local success, and they were soon offered a recording contract, if they traveled to LA.

This was a dream come true for Billy and Graham, but Billy had fallen madly in love with Camila, a stabilizing force in his life, but he left her behind and moved with the group to LA to pursue a musical career.  

The band called themselves “The Six” and released a competent album that sold well.  The success, money, and loneliness, drove Billy to drugs and alcohol when the band began touring.  Fortunately, Camila. who began to worry, visited him, and demanded that he get clean if he wanted to stay a family.

After their album, Rod, their manager, wanted The Six to do a duet single with Daisy Jones, on a song Billy had written.  The Six wasn’t keen about Daisy joining the band, and Billy really resented it, but in the end they relented.  While recording the Billy’s song, Daisy sung it in a way that changed the songs meaning from the way Billy had written it.  Billy was incensed, but once the single was released, it became a mega-hit.

There was a lot of tension between Billy and Daisy, both extremely talented songwriters and singers.  Billy, recognized Daisy’s talent, but was jealous of Daisy, and afraid of her.  He recognized her drug addiction and feared for his own relapse which would break up his marriage with Camila and their young family.  It was his family that enabled him to keep stable and straight.  He was aware of his weakness for alcohol and tried to keep away from Daisy, even though they were now constantly thrust together in the band.

With personal difficulty, Daisy and and Billy co-wrote all of the songs for the band’s next album, which became a nationwide blockbuster.  However, the personal dynamics between members of the band changed and produced ever increasing tensions between the musicians.  The author did a good job of showing the misunderstandings and tensions that arose, and the resulting struggles between the novel’s characters.

The novel is unique, in that the prose was written in the style of a documentary film, using just interviews of the characters.   These interviews show the perspectives of the band members to the different events that occur during the rise to fame of the band.  

Like I said at the beginning, I really enjoyed the novel and now that I have read it, I am anxious to watch the mini-series.

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