Alright, something you may not know about me is that I am a sucker for a story about a band/music. I’m not sure what it is exactly that draws me to those types of books, but I do know that I can trace it back to reading The Dirt in high school with one of my best friends. (Of note: said friend and I are still quite close and absolutely made a day date out of drinking mimosas and watching the Netflix adaptation. Be jealous.) So after reading and really enjoying the writing/story of Evelyn Hugo last year, I knew for sure that Jenkins Read’s most recent novel, Daisy Jones was absolutely a must-read situation for me. And although it took me longer than I had hoped to pick it up, I was so right about how much I’d love it.
“It is what I have always loved about music. Not the sounds or the crowds or the good times as much as the words – the emotions, and the stories, the truth – that you can let is flow right out of your mouth.”
Daisy Jones is a gorgeous young girl coming of age in L.A. in the late 60s. She’s into sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, and has a voice that’s starting to get noticed. The Six, led by Billy Dunne, are a band that’s also starting to get some traction after the release of their first album. When Daisy and Billy cross paths, and a producer realizes together they could be something really, really big. And boy was he right. But like all great legends, there’s so much going on that no one sees…
Holy ever-loving, mind-blowing awesomeness, this book was SO GOOD! I know that it’s been really popular and all the reviews have said this same thing, basically, but I feel absolutely compelled to add my voice to the chorus. This was un-put-down-ably entertaining. Told as an oral history of the band, with input from almost all the members and some key additional persons (the manager, Billy’s wife, Daisy’s best friend), the flow and style invited one of the most literal “just one more page” reading experiences I’ve ever had. I loved how easy it was to read and follow, the pacing and flow were perfect, and being able to see all the contributors’ memories, and the way they differently experienced the exact same events, was fascinating. It was such a cool way to get insight into many different people’s takes on the story, without it getting too bogged down in itself. And, of course, like I said, such a fun and entertaining way to read.
Plot-wise, we get to see the rise of both Daisy Jones and The Six separately, and then also together, and I was really into both situations. Getting a feel for Daisy and Billy’s pasts and personalities individually was such an important baseline that made reading them together even more compelling. Jenkins Reid wrote their relationship so well. The tension that was there artistically, emotionally, professionally and sexually, in both positive and negative ways, was definitely one of the highlights of the novel. They were explosive in all the ways that make for great music and great reading and I felt like the complexities of that truly came alive throughout the book. Plus, the way all the surrounding band relationships and drama played out alongside and intertwined with the two of them, to culminate in the final Chicago Stadium show and the dissolution of the group, was deftly executed and made everything feel so real, no forced actions or unbelievable interactions. And that goes for all the members – I never felt like one person or one decision was more or less tangible or credible than the others. Gahhhhhhhh, just so good!
I know that this band isn’t real, but I want them to be so badly. Like, if someone could please take the lyrics that are indexed in the back and create this hit album in real life, I would be so down with that. Like, honestly, that’s my only complaint about this entire book, that the characters are fictional. So I feel like if that’s not a testament to how amazing a reading experience this was, I don’t know what is. Bottom line, this is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year and I recommend it to anyone/everyone who is looking for an engaging, compulsively readable and thoroughly entertaining book.
There are so many quotes that stuck out to me. Probably because it’s basically just a book-length collection of the best soundbites from each contributor. Haha. Regardless, here’s a bunch of the words that I loved/highlighted as I read:
“However, it should also be noted that, on matters both big and small, sometimes accounts of the same event differ. The truth often lies, unclaimed, in the middle.”
“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.”
“What’s good is when everybody thinks you’re headed somewhere fast, when you’re all potential. Potential is pure fuckin’ joy.”
“I think you have to have faith in people before they earn it. Otherwise it’s not faith, right?”
“…if you redeem yourself, then believe in your own redemption.”
“When you have everything, someone else getting a little something feels like they’re stealing from you.”
“It’s like some of us are chasing after our nightmares the way other people chase dreams.”
“But if I did believe in [soulmates], I’d believe your soul mate was somebody who had all the things you didn’t, that needed all the things you had. Not somebody who’s suffering from the same stuff you are.”
“I’m saying that when you really love someone, sometimes the things they need may hurt you, and some people are worth hurting for. […] 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.”
“You can’t control another person. It doesn’t matter how much you love them. You cant love someone back to health and you can’t hate someone back to health and no matter how right you are about something, it doesn’t mean they will change your mind.”
“You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.”