If it wasn't the brilliantly written oral history, it was the raw, compelling storylines that made readers fall in love with Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones & The Six—a novel about the rise and fall of a fictional '70s rock band, and all of the sex, drugs, music, laughter, sadness, pain, and love in-between.
Inspired by iconic '60s and '70s bands like The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, Jenkins Reid told MarieClaire.com she did about six weeks of straight research, which allowed her to paint a full picture of the lives of rock and roll artists from both an internal and external perspective. It's also pretty hard to believe that she didn't know much about music beforehand, yet she crafted lyrics to songs that made #ReadWithMC reviewers disappointed they couldn't listen to them when they put the book down. (There's great news, though: Reese Witherspoon is turning the book into a limited TV series, so you'll actually get to see the songs come to life.)
Here, the #ReadWithMC community shares exactly what made Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones & The Six so great, and why you may even want to listen to the audiobook version first. Find out how you can have your review featured on the site for next month's Marie Claire book club pick (The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon), here.
"Formatted as an oral history, this is the story of how Daisy Jones came to join The Six to create one of the biggest rock records of the 70s—and how (and why) the band quickly fell apart after. The author lets each character tell their side of this tumultuous story, then pieces the interviews together into one fluid narrative that reveals exactly what happened that pulled this band apart at the seams. Wow—what a book. I was absolutely captivated, my mindset swinging from wanting to read slowly to savor the story to reading as fast as I could. Set in one of the greatest eras of rock and roll, this story had everything you’d want: drugs, sex, ambition, ego, and talent.
Although the story itself was great, the way the author chose to tell the story—as an oral history—is how this novel grabbed me. By letting the characters tell the story themselves, the author built incredible depth to these characters. You were in their heads, understanding their every move and motivation. This book is everywhere right now, so I understand if you’re wondering if it’s overrated, but I’ll tell you this: You won’t regret picking this one up. It's a truly refreshing spin on fiction, and definitely worth reading." —@elissa.reads
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"Just finished Daisy Jones & The Six by @tjenkinsreid and immediately wanted to start it all over again, it was that good. Not only is it a captivating, entertaining story of sex, drugs, and rock and roll presented in a unique format, but it also deals with Important Themes like trust and self-worth in subtle and thought-provoking ways. Ten out of 10 recommend. Can’t wait for the series." —@danismcnally
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"This might be my fave read by @tjenkinsreid. It honestly has everything you’d want in a book: originality, girl power, and a number of characters you’re bound to fall for." —@friendswithabook
"Jumping into the fictional world of Daisy Jones & The Six was an emotional roller coaster I was not prepared for. Written to portray the good times and bad times of a band trying to make it big in the late '60s/early '70s, I was immediately drawn to this title. The form of this book is one that I particularly enjoy. This story is presented like reading the transcript to a documentary; a written interview. The dialogue jumps between all seven members of the band, their management team, and from time to time people of great importance to them, in a Behind the Music-style production.
As I’m sure many other readers will tell you, it is difficult not to draw thoughts of Fleetwood Mac. As a fan, the fictional spin on an iconic band such as Fleetwood Mac really worked for me. Some of the best rock and roll of all time was recorded during this time period—it was the perfect era to use in the creation of a book such as this—and it was evident that this period was very well-researched. Taylor did a wonderful job of capturing the nostalgia and feel of this time setting perfectly. From the avocation of 'peace and love,' the subtlety in the inclusion of the second wave of feminism to the sex drugs and rock and roll that was the '70s rock era.
Given that this book read like the oral history of the band, there are many times you will feel as if these are real people and not just a creation from the mind of its author. It will become impossible not to impulsively search 'Daisy Jones & The Six' on Spotify or Google because these characters, this story, was written to feel so real. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but whenever offered a glimpse of the lyrics—with one or two lines of a verse—I wanted so badly to read each song in its entirety. When this was exactly what Taylor offered her reader in the final pages, I could not have loved that inclusion more.
In the end, Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones had my heart singing, soaring, and crushed. This is my first read by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and to say I am obsessed with this story is an understatement. This book would definitely translate well to television and I’m excited to see how it is adapted and who is cast. Thanks, Reese Witherspoon! Needless to say, this book has everything I love wrapped up in its pages. I could not recommend it more and it’s definitely one of those books that you don’t want to miss. Period." —Julie on Goodreads
"This book absolutely crushed me. ❤️❤️❤️ Jenkins Reid is a genius and I couldn’t put this book down. I’m now on my third day of a serious Stevie Nicks binge." —@dontcallmeagnes
"Just finished the book—it was great! I wanted to hear the music so bad!!!" —@mzeliz
"Taylor Jenkins Reid always writes the most unique and brilliant stories. Daisy Jones & The Six is a book unlike any I’ve read before. This story follows many characters, but is primarily about Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne, the two lead singers and songwriters of the band. The band came together in the '70s and that is the decade the story takes place. You get the perspectives of many characters, but thankfully, it was easy to follow.
This story felt like it was real, in fact, I questioned several times if this was a real band/story. This one captured me from the start and held my attention all the way through. I felt conflicted about a lot of things, but the ending…the last few lines…they gave me goosebumps.
I listened to the audio book of Daisy Jones & The Six and I can’t recommend the audio format enough. There was an array of narrators voicing the characters and they did a magnificent job. The book was written in an interview style, and I honestly don’t think I would have enjoyed reading the e-book/paperback nearly as much. I’m so glad I did the audio.
If you love rockstar books, stories that are real, raw, and a bit angsty, be sure to grab this. And do yourself a favor and do the audio if you can. It’s wonderful!" —Christy B. on Goodreads
"Loved this book! I got sucked in from the start and couldn't put it down. I really felt the energy, and actually started crying when I read the ending on my subway ride home. Jenkins Reid crafts such vivid characters, and it's definitely no small feat to weave together so many storylines in the as-told-to format. I can't wait to see the on-screen adaptation!" —@morgan.mcmullen
"This was so good! I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s book so much! Her writing is incredible. She has a beautiful way of making her characters very real and believable. I loved the format. I’ve always been a huge nerd for Behind the Music specials and E! True Hollywood Stories, and while reading this book I kind of felt like I was watching one of those, so I loved it!
I liked that this book not only focused on the romantic relationships, but also on the powerful friendships between these women. There was so many strong messages for women about empowerment, standing up for yourself, and about women supporting each other. Even though this book is fiction, I felt at the end of reading it that this could’ve been a true story because of how amazing this story was put together. I absolutely loved it and I highly recommend it!" —@bookishamberlynn
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"OBSESSED!!!! Can’t wait to hear the songs come off the pages in the Amazon show." —@annelisita21
"I listened to the audiobook and I gotta say, Taylor Jenkins Reid has knocked it out of the park again. I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. This audiobook was one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to and I am SO GLAD that I decided to take in the story that way. It was narrated by a full cast and I just about died when my girl Judy Greer started speaking in my ear as the voice of Karen Karen. Seriously y'all, so fucking good.
I WILL SAY, the reason I'm giving this a 4 and not a 5 is because the book as a whole ends a little unspectacularly. There's so much build up and tension throughout the course of the book and the ending just did not live up to what came before it. I do still HIGHLY recommend you check it out though, and 100 percent recommend the audiobook. What a wild ride." —Chelsea on Goodreads
"This book was ADDICTIVE. Please Kill Me is a book that meant a lot to me and to see Daisy Jones through the same narrative style was so fascinating and felt so real. I was genuinely sad I couldn’t go play some of their music every time I put it down, it felt like being in their fully realized world." —@hella_drella
"Reading 'Daisy Jones and The Six' was like having an all-access pass to hang backstage with the hottest rock band in the world!" —@forthereading
Reading "Daisy Jones and The Six" was like having an all access pass to hang backstage with the hottest rock band in the world! #ReadWIthMC https://t.co/5bkVTkx5VTApril 25, 2019
"What a highly entertaining read! From the pen of the talented @tjenkinsreid comes the story of the rise and fall of a band in the 70s. It is written in the form of interview transcripts and through this unique style, the views and memories of all the different members are captured perfectly....albeit differently. It’s pure 70s sex, drugs, ‘n’ rock and roll...with a nice twist in the end!
Hats off to TJR for actually writing complete songs and including them in the back of the book!! There were many quotable parts for me in the book:
'Men often think they deserve a sticker for treating women like people.'
'We became a democracy instead of a autocracy. And democracy sounds like a great idea, but bands aren’t countries.'
'It’s just rock 'n' roll. None of this really matters.'
'But music is never about music. If it was, we’d be writing songs about guitars. But we don’t. We write songs about women.'
'Passion is fire...Water is how we keep alive...I picked water.'"
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"This is a breeeeezy zip of a book. It’s written in a gossipy, fragmented way, using snippets of Behind the Music-style interviews to chronicle the rise and fall, the relationships, adventures, and misadventures of a fictional '70s rock band called Daisy Jones & The Six, which is apparently modeled after Fleetwood Mac.
Jenkins Reid's frothy trip down imaginary rock and roll lane is shaped as a book-in-the-making, allowing former band members, rock critics, producers, friends, and lovers the opportunity to supply or respond to other participants’ admissions concerning all the steamy behind-the-scenes dirt that is part and parcel of fame’s mythos—the resentments, the sex, the drinking, the drugs, the creative differences, the posturing; the whole roiling emotional toll of the rock and roll lifestyle.
There’s a special emphasis on the burdens and perceptions and scrutiny that comes with being a woman in the industry, and in a band numbering seven people, the juggling of egos, and managing status and contribution and consensus becomes a real issue along with the compromises one makes for commercial viability, being an artist vs. being a star, personal/artistic sacrifices made for the good of the band—and things get, as the kids say, complicated.
Although Jenkins Reid has to construct these personas using only what is essentially a series of monologues, she does it well and consistently, and there’s some fun to be had in observing who among the characters are forthright, who politely declines to answer, or whose memories differ or contradict the memories of others. This makes for a little subtext of a story about how memories change over time, how situations are interpreted based on a participant’s perspective or the filter of hindsight, or how misunderstandings, when allowed to go unchallenged, often snowball into bigger problems than they ought to have.
In a related theme, it’s interesting to see how this phenomenon transcends the interpersonal level and is carried out into the legend of the band—how lyrics are interpreted, misinterpreted, how rumors grow around them, how situations are inflated for a juicier tale, and how the press operates as kingmakers, creating or perpetuating the aura of stardom on the slimmest of pretexts. It’s a fun, light summertime book sprinkled with great lines. The best one?
Karen was the kind of person who had more talent in her finger than most people have in their whole body…
And don’t you forget it." —Karen on Goodreads
"Even though I was exhausted, I stayed up late last night finishing this book. Everything that can be said about this book has already been said, so here are my personal takeaways:
Recommended for fans of: Bohemian Rhapsody (the movie—but also the song!), Intervention, praying every night for the reunion of The Civil Wars, 'Rehab' by Amy Winehouse." —@shellsnbooks
Missed out on our April pick? Starting May 1, we'll be reading Nicola Yoon's YA novel The Sun Is Also a Star. Before you watch the movie starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, out May 17, learn more about the book and read an exclusive interview with the author here.
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Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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