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Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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"Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now."

As a fan of music documentaries and classic rock, Daisy Jones and the Six took me back to the days of VH1's Behind the Music. As a kid, I loved the behind-the-scenes look at the origin stories of some of music's biggest artists. A large part of the backstories usually covered individual band members' childhood, their first encounter with music, and their comeuppance within whichever genre they were famous for. One of my major motivations for picking up Taylor Jenkins Reid's book was the fact that the text is a documentary transcript in which all the former members of the fictional band, Daisy Jones and the Six, and their former managers and record producers, recount the story of the band's lead-up to the album, Aurora, which transformed rock music.

I decided that the audiobook would be the ideal format for me to truly enjoy the book as I don't usually enjoy reading interview transcripts. I made the absolute right choice! The cast of characters in the book are voiced by a talented range of actors, including Benjamin Bratt as Graham Dunne, guitarist of The Six and brother of lead singer Billy Dunne. If you're looking for a gripping audiobook, then I highly recommend you choose this as your next great listen!

Picture taken at Vinyl Edge Records located at 239 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

So what did I think about the story? Well, it begins as two separate origin stories. The first is about the early childhood and adolescence of late-1960s "It" girl Daisy Jones. The freewheeling daughter of artists, Jones was out of the house and on her own by the time she turned 16. She was transfixed by the music, drugs, and sex of LA's Sunset Strip. Eventually, she began to try her hand at singing and song writing and caught the ear of a record label. Although she struggled with creative freedom and authority (I'm avoiding any spoilers here), she was able to record an album and catch the ear of millions.

Meanwhile, The Six are gaining steam and at its head is Billy Dunne. Dunne is the lead singer and songwriter for the band. Along with his troubled childhood, readers learn of his struggle with drugs leading up to the birth of his first daughter, Julia, which comes at the end of The Six's first US tour. After promising his wife, Camila, that he will commit to a sober life, Dunne and the rest of The Six collaborate with Daisy Jones and it's from here that the REAL story begins.

As the story bounces from person-to-person, we learn that Daisy was a force. A goddess. A take-no-prisoners kind of woman. By her own description, Daisy tells us she just wanted to live life on her own terms.

To say Billy struggles to accept Daisy into the band is an understatement. He struggles with opening himself up to writing with her. He struggles with his sobriety in the face of Daisy's reckless drug use. And, though it is not overtly stated in the book, he struggles with staying faithful to his wife as he and Daisy's relationship grows tumultuous, intimate, and passionate. As an addict, it is hard for Billy to get up and walk away. For Daisy, she is constantly feeling the intense pang of rejection, which fuels the need for the numbness only pills can give her. Together, their struggles combine to create beautiful and emotionally complex music.

There are so many moving parts in this story, but I want to avoid spoilers.

However, I do want to take a moment to give a shout out to the female characters in the book. The book is set in the late 1960s and the whole of the 1970s where women are still constantly bearing the brunt of male egotism. But Reid's women do not cower. Instead, she writes them as independently strong-minded women. Even Camila, Billy Dunne's wife, does not waver is she demands Billy get a grip on his drug addiction and, basically, "man-up" and figure out whether she, their daughter Julia, and their life beyond The Six is worth saving. She is never afraid to fight for what she wants even if it's a family. And why shouldn't family be worth fighting for?

Picture taken at Vinyl Edge Records located at 239 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I admire Reid's ability to build a world we are quite familiar with - 1970s rock n'roll - and still manage to give us a unique story about not only rock music, but also family, love, and knowing when to walk away.

One of my co-workers who also listened to the audiobook described the lasting effect of the story perfectly, "I felt as if my favorite band had just broken up."

Have you read Reid's novel? If so, what did you think? If not, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know in the comments!

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