(Audio) Book Review: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Sometimes form and style come together beautifully and this is truly the case when listening to the audio version of Daisy Jones & the Six. Taylor Jenkins Reid is doing very well for herself lately and many of her books are hugely popular. Several years ago, I read the first couple of chapters of Jenkins Reid’s book of Forever, Interrupted and dropped it without continuing because I felt emotionally manipulated by its opening in the way that I felt emotionally manipulated that time I watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Since then, Jenkins Reid has written more books and become far more popular. Yet I wasn’t hugely tempted until someone (who? please tell me if it was you) shared their enjoyment of Daisy Jones in audio form.

The book is a fake oral history of a band that never existed. It’s a brilliant idea – something along the lines of Please Kill Me, an oral history of punk music, a non-fiction book I enjoyed several years ago. The book purports to be a collection of interviews of people connected to a band that was hugely famous in the 1970s. They recorded one amazing album together and broke up when on tour. No one knows why. Until now.

We meet Daisy Jones who is beautiful and fearless and lost. She has raw talent but not much direction. Billy and Graham Dunne are brothers who spearhead a band initially called The Dunne Brothers and then The Six that is moderately successful on its own. When their shared record label puts The Six and Daisy Jones together, something more spectacular than they could have ever imagined is born.

Daisy and Billy are larger than life people, each with their own laser-focused vision of what their future should be. Together they have a chemistry that brings their music to life and is impossible to ignore. Somewhat predictably, they can’t stand each other. Daisy is reckless and wild, on a perhaps unstoppable path to self-destruction. Billy is tinkering on the edge, barely holding on to his sobriety, propped up by the support of his remarkable faithful wife, Camilla.

The basic plot is fairly cliche (and clearly inspired by Fleetwood Mac) but Jenkins Reid does bring some unexpected depth to her characters. Daisy is wild and reckless but we see her fragility too and by introducing her when she is still very young, it’s a lot easier to be sympathetic to her vulnerability. Billy too, though he makes some poor choices, is clearly a man struggling to do right and to balance two almost opposing desires. And Camilla, who could so easily be the shrewish wife left at home, brings a depth and a compassion to the whole story that I didn’t expect. And surrounding these three, there are the other band members with their own issues, dreams, and romances. There’s lots of humour interjected too.

The audio version is acted out with a full cast and it’s a perfect fit for this oral history. It brings the story to life and draws out the pathos of the characters and their stories. There are several recognizable names though the only voice I could easily pinpoint was that of Judy Greer’s. An actress I loved but I couldn’t stop picturing her instead of the character of Karen, which was distracting. Depending on how many times you’ve seen 13 Going on 30, this may or may not be a problem for you.

I’m glad I listened to this. I don’t know that I’m going to rush out and read the rest of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s work and I’m not at all tempted to see the mini-series based on this book but Daisy Jones & the Six on audio was exactly what I wanted with a little more than I expected.

7 thoughts on “(Audio) Book Review: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid”

  1. LOL, I have seen 13 Going on 30 many, many times. Greer was also Cheryl/Carol in Archer, so I can hear her voice for sure. Plus, this is not her first audiobook. She did that Max Brooks novel about Bigfoot. I haven’t read this novel, so it wasn’t me, but I do love his you assume we all know the story of Fleetwood Mac, because I don’t. 🤣

    1. Greer does a great job, she just physically didn’t match the character. Which is not a problem for audio except that I know what she looks like!

      I actually don’t know all the details about Fleetwood Mac either! Just that they are famous for romantic relationships being a reason they broke up as a band.

  2. I can see why this book would be perfect in audio form! I read it, and really enjoyed it (I’ve loved all TJR books that I’ve read, but I haven’t read her earlier stuff), but its also one of those books that isn’t very memorable you know? Like, it’s here for a good time, but not a long time LOL

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