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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

'Daisy Jones and The Six' by Taylor Jenkins Reid


From the BLURB: 

There was Daisy, rock and roll force of nature, brilliant songwriter and unapologetic drug addict, the half-feral child who rose to superstardom. 

There was Camila, the frontman’s wife, too strong-willed to let the band implode – and all too aware of the electric connection between her husband and Daisy. 

There was Karen, ice-cool keyboardist, a ferociously independent woman in a world that wasn’t ready for her. 

And there were the men surrounding them: the feuding, egotistical Dunne brothers, the angry guitarist chafing on the sidelines, the drummer binge-drinking on his boat, the bassist trying to start a family amid a hedonistic world tour. They were creative minds striking sparks from each other, ready to go up in flames. 

It’s never just about the music…

Late contender for one of my FAVE books of 2019 - 'Daisy Jones and the Six' by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

I loved her other book, 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' so I shouldn’t be surprised that this one hooked me too ... she’s changing up the Golden Days of Hollywood flashbacks for the Rock N’ Roll 70s LA scene in interview format with this book that’s *very* ‘Almost Famous’ meets 'A Star is Born' (the Gaga and Bradley one!) via ‘The Commitments’ by way of Fleetwood Mac’s story.

This is an interesting format for a fiction-book, fair warning. It's set out in an interview-format (does that still count as an "epistolary novel"?) like you're reading the transcribed notes of a Rolling Stone interview, or the transcript of a VH1 'Behind the Music' episode... there's a core cast of characters that make up the infamous band at the centre of the "biopic" but as they mention moments (like their album-cover photo-shoot) other people creep in to give their point-of-view (like the photographer, for example). 

I haven't seen too many people who couldn't get over the format, and pretty universally I see readers appreciate what it brings to the story - an ability for character's to tell their own history, their own way; maybe it's misremembered (clashing with other's character's consensus memory), outright lies, or situations coloured by more information as to what someone was going through themselves at the time. It adds so much to the dynamics of the band and new facets to the problems they face (namely; that it's a whole bunch of disparate people coming together with all their clashing ideas and sensibilities to make art) and it is *fascinating*! 

From the outset, you also feel that the interview is building towards ... *something*. Something happens with this band that shoots them into the stratosphere (so that however-many-years in the future, they're worthy of an epic biopic) but also that everyone's memories are coming across bittersweet. Not just nostalgic, but tinged with individual regret from that time. It gives the novel a central "whodunit?" kind of mysterious atmosphere as we go along on this ride through memory-lane to find out where everyone ended up. And I've got to say - the interview format kind of lulled me into this false-sense of perception, so that when the *little* reveal happens towards the end I literally cried out with emotion, and then proceeded to bawl my eyes out. 

This is looking to be the first of Taylor Jenkins Reid's books to be adapted - and I can see why. I think it'll work really well as a TV mini-series, and it's a stroke of genius to have cast Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough in the lead (I mean!!!!). I’m really hanging out for the casting of my faves though - Karen & Graham though. 

I LOVED this book. It was like reading particularly salacious celebrity gossip but with depth and wonder, romance and heartache and I just can not recommend it enough. Definitely a fave of 2020. 

5/5

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