‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ is a must-read before release of TV series

Image courtesy of Random House.

Over winter break, I pulled myself out of a nearly six-month-long reading slump with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel “Daisy Jones and the Six.” Chronicling title-character Daisy Jones’ odyssey to international fame in the ’70s, “Daisy Jones” is a portrait of sex, drugs and drama. Written in an interview style that often makes for amusing contradictions of truth, the book jumps from character to character, giving readers first-hand accounts of life as rock and roll legends in the seventies. 

Daisy Jones, the neglected daughter of two well-known L.A. socialites, was effectively raised by Hollywood’s biggest stars. By her early teens, Daisy was sneaking into clubs and making a name for herself with her effortlessly good looks and powerful voice. The thrill of sleeping with rock stars and the pull of party drugs sweeps Daisy into the entertainment underbelly of Hollywood, quickly catching the watchful eyes of big-name record labels.

Also gaining traction in the ’70s is a band called The Six, consisting of brothers Billy and Graham Dunne, drummer Warren Rhodes, bassist Pete Loving, guitarist Eddie Loving and keyboardist Karen Sirko. Billy has a cocky and highly opinionated presence, quickly asserting himself as leader of the band and vocals. The group’s on-stage energy is apparent, but its track to stardom is impeded by one missing piece. A producer soon realizes the key to the band’s success is to pair them with rising star Daisy Jones, founding the supergroup Daisy Jones and the Six.

The fictional band is an obvious nod to Fleetwood Mac, a ’70s rock group famously riddled with adulterous drama and a public split at the height of stardom. Similarly, while Daisy and Billy have a rare and distinctive on-stage chemistry, behind-the-scenes tensions run high. Daisy’s addiction to drugs and dependency on partying creates a difficult environment for Billy, a recent graduate of rehab struggling to stay sober. Additionally, Billy’s ego and arrogance partnered with Daisy’s desire to be free from the controlling grasp of men makes for a volatile and problematic collaboration. But when their talent collides just right, the pair’s songwriting abilities are explosive. When they manage to produce their debut album “Aurora,” fans are hooked. The band finds itself catapulted into international fame, which only heightens drama within the group.

If you need further motivation to pick up “Daisy Jones and the Six,” look no further than its adaptation to the screen. A 10-episode miniseries is set to premiere on March 3 on Prime Video, the first trailer having been released just a week ago. Playing Daisy is Riley Keough, coincidentally the granddaughter of the “The King of Rock and Roll” himself, Elvis Presley. Sam Claflin has been cast as Billy, most beloved for his role in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Notable supporting actors include Suki Waterhouse and Camila Morrone, along with other relatively undiscovered talent.  

The star-studded cast has fans eagerly anticipating the show’s release. Further, many are excited to see how the miniseries adapts Jenkins Reid’s lyrics into recorded songs. The book provides thorough insight into each hit song from the band, including detailed accounts of Daisy and Billy’s chemistry on stage and a chapter at the end of the book dedicated solely to their lyrics. The trailer provides excerpts from “Regret Me,” one of the band’s most emotional tracks featured on the album “Aurora.” Now available on Spotify, the song is an emotional tribute of Daisy’s unrequited love for Billy.

Along with obvious themes of addiction and relationship struggles, “Daisy Jones” includes issues of abortion and reproductive rights, complex feminist narratives and, of course, rock and roll. The poignancy of these issues accompanied by the completely unhinged nature of ’70s stardom are a deadly combination, creating an endearing cast of characters. However, the most enticing aspect of “Daisy Jones” for me was the book’s multiple-perspective style and easily manageable page count. The uncomplicated writing style makes for a fast-paced read that can be devoured in a weekend. With the miniseries’ release date nearing, I encourage you to give the book a read. Grab a copy of “Daisy Jones,” turn on some Fleetwood Mac and enjoy.

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