Taylor Jenkins Reid makes time travel possible, bringing readers to the world of the bell-bottomed 1970s, in the novel, "Daisy Jones and The Six.” This novel materializes the infamous "sex, drugs and rock' n' roll," putting names and faces to the most captivating and vivacious music scene that history has ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Reid has a knack for capturing the art of historical accuracy, strategically creating characters who blur the lines of real and imaginary, leaving the reader to wonder if the characters exist or if they are a mere figment of Reid's imagination.
"This book serves as the first and only time members of the band have commented on their history together," a disclaimer given by the ambiguous narrator at the novel's beginning as a means to forewarn readers of the gritting narrative they must be prepared to witness.
Enemies to lovers, drugs and forgiveness, heartache and pain, all drowned in the overlay of rock 'n' roll. "Daisy Jones and the Six" weren't just making music, they were the music industry itself. The combination of Daisy Jones' raw, untapped talent and Billy Dunne's genius musical intuition creates a lethal combination, explosive to fans, making them want to crawl through their record players and become one with the band.
The story is not told the way an average narrative flows – no quotation marks, short, descriptive paragraphs and little intel on the raw inner psyche of each character. Yet, somehow, Reid captures more than just dialogue and description; she makes the audience feel.
Her characters, Daisy and Billy, are an unlikely pair. Daisy – who is cutting-edge, stubborn, dynamic, with a touch of a whimsy rockstar on the rise – is a sharp contrast to the mysterious, intelligent, hard-headed rollercoaster of a man Billy. But isn't it common knowledge opposites attract? The two begin recounting their origin stories separately; Daisy speaks about her calling to the spotlight and songwriting aspirations, while Billy focuses on the initial successes of his band and the early days of his marriage to Camila.
Both speak of their christening into the world of rock 'n' roll fondly, but their stories seem to be missing a sparkle, a key corner puzzle piece to complete the picture. They were missing each other. Teddy Price, a producer in the music scene, plays matchmaker for the two musicians, suggesting Daisy as the female vocalist for a duet by The Six, Billy Dunne's band, making history in the process. The artists instantly clash, barely able to stand the sight of one another. But when singing together, they are magic.
Billy and Daisy might be stubborn, unhinged, talented, emotional, selfish and a bit immature, but when it comes to music, they are like skilled artisans creating masterpieces ready for display. Their personal experiences shape their music, often demonstrating how human and relatable the two rock stars are. Their journeys resonate with the audience, telling countless stories of mistakes and forgiveness, a compelling narrative for readers to digest when it seems so personal.
The most delicate narrative comes from Daisy when she begins to sense romantic feelings for one Billy – a married, recovered addict, faithful to his wife and would do anything to put his family first – leaving him out of the cards for Daisy despite the flying sparks between them on stage. Daisy is a woman who can have anything she wants, but when it comes to who she truly desires, she is left to keep her feelings at bay, knowing she will never be the one Billy truly wants. Daisy's experience resonates with the audience as the feelings of unrequited love are known all too well.
Reid expertly calculates heartbreak and love into her novel, developing nearly tangible passion via song lyrics, longing looks and simple conversations. The novel's structure is genius, allowing the characters to speak for themselves and share their personal account of everything the band experienced.
The combination of perspectives makes for the most reliable-unreliable narrator, drawing in on each character's biased account, allowing the bigger picture to take a more detailed, well-rounded shape. Daisy and Billy fondly share their memories of writing songs, hotel rooms, drugs, tour buses, lavish swimming pools and backyard weddings, with a twinge of regret. Reid writes in such universal themes of love and loss to make the readers feel heard. Her novels are of genius creativity and a great recommendation if you want to feel something.