Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the biggest authors in the book community. From bookstagram to booktok, her stories are often praised for the masterful storytelling and unforgettable characters. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2017) and Daisy Jones & The Six (2019) were the ones I’ve been recommended the most, and the ones I’ve seen ceaseless love for.
So why did it take me so long to read them? I’ve always been a bit wary of books with overwhelming hype, especially from authors I’ve never read. Despite my friends assuring me I’d love Reid’s stories, I held off year after year until I made it a goal of reading my first TJR book in 2021. I started Evelyn Hugo in the last week of 2021 and finished on the fourth day of the new year. To say it lived up to the hype would be an understatement. I finally understood why so many people loved it with such fervor.
Soon after, I picked up the audiobook of Daisy Jones & The Six rather than the physical book as a recommendation from a friend. Verdict? It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
This was the first audiobook I listened to that had a full cast of narrators and the performance was phenomenal. Daisy Jones & The Six was made for audiobook with its interview-style format. Every narrator performed so remarkably well that it truly felt as though I was listening to interviews from a real legendary 70s rock band. I can’t imagine a more perfect voice for Daisy, Billy, Camila, and the rest of the cast. They breathed such vivd life and emotion into these characters that I can close my eyes and hear their distinctive voices in my head, recounting their tumultuous years under the limelight. It felt so real. No one can convince that Daisy Jones & The Six wasn’t a real band from a bygone era.
Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll–you’ve heard of it, they lived it. The story chronicles the rise of the iconic band, Daisy Jones & The Six, from their humble beginnings to the peak of their existence. It’s startlingly authentic in its exploration of the darker side of the rock scene, which is still quite relevant in the music industry today. The crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol, the infidelity, the mind and body dissociation. It’s a heavy story. But it also explores the passion and heart of music, of songwriting, of the story behind the lyrics.
“All I will say is that you show up for your friends on their hardest days. And you hold their hand through the roughest parts. Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”
The documentary/transcript format made it a very unique listen. The band members and close friends/family/associates recounted their past whirlwind of adventures; their brightest and darkest moments. I don’t normally read historical fiction (though it’s a genre I do want to read more of), let alone interview-style books, so I was unsure how I felt at the somewhat sluggish beginning. But the more I listened, the more I felt compelled to continue, and before I knew it I was entirely engrossed.
I absolutely hated Billy Dunne right out of the gate. Admittedly, I almost DNF’d because I really didn’t want to listen to an entire story about a man’s infidelity (but that wasn’t the case). I was so certain there was no way TJR could redeem him after his awful actions, but somehow, by the end of the book, I didn’t hate him. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I liked him, but TJR definitely worked hard to make him a more sympathetic character. I think it’s important to realize that these are very flawed and complex characters with real fears and motivations.
Daisy on the other hand, I loved right off the bat. There’s an empowering quality to her despite her devastating addiction to drugs. She was determined to chase her passion for music in a man’s world. Bold and impulsive, Daisy Jones did not give a fuck (excuse my language) about pleasing others. She was a hedonist with a love for music through and through. For all her little fractured pieces, she sure made the band feel whole.
“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.”
Despite the shaky, uncertain start, I fell in love with Daisy Jones & The Six thanks to the exceptional performances from the narrators, as well as the emotional gravity of the story that pulled me in and refused to let go. I can’t recommend the audiobook enough–the only downside is that every other audiobook may pale in comparison after finishing this.
“I think you have to have faith in people before they earn it. Otherwise it’s not faith, right?”