I have previously received PR products from Penguin.
Warning: this review does contain a couple of minor spoilers!
Welcome back to another review. This is a pretty special review for me! This is the first audiobook I listened to, and also the first book I read for the book club I’ve started! You can find more about our book club here, and if you keep an eye on our social channels (Twitter, Instagram), you’ll find out very soon what our July read is going to be. There are some incredible books nominated for the July read, so it’ll be the battle of the votes to see what comes out on top. I will probably read most of them over the next couple of months anyway because I already own a few, and the ones I don’t own look really interesting so I want to read them all! Anyway, I don’t want to get too distracted from Daisy Jones and the Six, because I really enjoyed this book. It’s by Taylor Jenkins Reid, who also wrote The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (another book on my TBR…), and she’s really building a name for herself at the moment, so it was great to have the chance to read her work for the first time and discuss it with some great people!
If you aren’t familiar, Daisy Jones and the Six is written in an interview format, uncovering the history of a famous rock band and the reasons they ended up suddenly splitting. It’s a really interesting premise for a book, and works perfectly as an audiobook! I was lucky enough to find the audiobook on Libby, which is an app that allows you to access and borrow from your local library’s ebook and audiobook collection (definitely not sponsored by Libby, just spreading the word about free access to audiobooks!). The audiobook has a full cast, so it’s like you’re really listening to the band members and the other characters speak to the interviewer and recall their history which I loved. The cast is quite big, so the added bonus of the audiobook is that you can differentiate the characters by their voices. I think I would have got confused reading it as the point of view switches so often, but the voices helped me to keep track.
The story itself was so interesting! It’s very sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, but deep down it’s really a story about love and loss and celebrity. Initially, Daisy is a young girl with a rocky relationship with her parents, out looking for some kind of validation that she can’t find at home. As a result, she falls into the groupie scene, and starts using drugs and sleeping around at quite a young age. I did initially feel sorry for her, but as the book progressed into her solo career I started to really dislike her as a person, yet love her as a character. She was incredibly narcissistic, entitled and bratty, but she was so gripping. Once she joins forces with a band known as ‘The Six’, she started to become more likeable again for me. This middle section was the only place where I thought the pacing was a little off. It felt like there was an awful lot being said about this period of time, to the point where it started to drag on. Eventually, the pacing did pick up and really carried through to the ending.
As well as the characters in the band, we get to hear from other characters surrounding them. My favourite character in the book was one such character, the lead singer Billy Dunne’s wife, Camila. Camila was just an incredibly strong, compassionate and resilient character. Her relationship with Billy survives infidelity, and addiction, and long distance, and she remains so dedicated to him and their children. The only other woman in the band, Karen, has a really moving scene with Camila towards the end that I loved hearing. As the events of the book took place in the 1970s, it was incredible to see such a sensitive and non-judgemental approach towards the subject of abortion from the characters. Camila’s line about wanting Karen to find the same happiness Camila found was so touching and so important to me. Camila’s acknowledgement that Karen needed something different to find fulfilment was very open-minded, and just showed how compassionate she is.
The final thing I really wanted to talk about in relation to Daisy Jones and the Six was the openness of all the characters. This was what made me really warm to Daisy in the second half of the book. Her candid talks about love and her own insecurities and vulnerability really hammered home to me the format of this book. All of the things that were said that portrayed Daisy in a negative light were said, or at least corroborated by, Daisy herself. And the same for other members of the band. Given the format, I was expecting a lot of conflicting recollections where both sides of an argument tried to paint themselves as the one in the right, but it wasn’t the case. Sometimes they stood by their opinions, sometimes they expressed regret, but I can’t think of any instance where it seemed like the two sides didn’t match up and someone was lying. This candidness and honesty really changed my opinion of both Daisy and Billy.
For a first audiobook experience, Daisy Jones and the Six was about as good as I could ask for! I think I definitely prefer reading to listening as I have to be doing specific things (running, walking, cleaning or cooking) to be able to concentrate on listening to an audiobook. I have to say as well, listening to this kind of book filled with angst and anger and arguments while running is great motivation fuel to keep going!
This review also posted on my GoodReads!