Writing an oral history for an imaginary rock band can’t be easy, but author Taylor Jenkins Reid handles the task with aplomb in Daisy Jones & The Six. Every detail feels convincing and every character feels real, so much so that you can practically hear the band’s fictional songs in your head (and will wish you could queue up for real). The story is told via the recollections of all of the major players involved in the band’s massively successful (and only) album; primarily following Daisy Jones, who aspires to be a hit-making singer / songwriter, and Billy Dunne, who fronts a rock band called The Six which consists of himself, his brother, and four others. There is the expected mix of music and debauchery as everyone rises to fame in late 60’s / early 70’s Los Angeles, all leading invariably to the two paths crossing. Billy and Daisy don’t get along particularly well, but when they get together, the songs they write are pure magic. Their combined talents produce several smash hits, but of course, such a tenuous arrangement can’t last and everyone winds up not-so-amicably parting ways. Reid perfectly captures all of the magic of that time in popular culture and draws up a cast filled with interesting and believable people. While the overarching idea of the rise and fall of a band isn’t really anything new, it is handled so well here, and so perfectly touches on themes of love, family, addiction, and the creative process, that the end result truly shines. This book is every bit as good as the legendary album whose creation is chronicled in its pages.
PS. If you can, make sure to check out the audiobook version, which features a full cast reading the parts (including Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Pablo Schrieber, Judy Greer, & more). Everyone puts in excellent performances, and it only helps to make the whole thing feel even more convincingly real. ★★★★★ – Sean Farrell
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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor