I’ve heard really good things about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I just haven’t gotten there yet. Meanwhile, everyone was raving about the audiobook version of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new novel, Daisy Jones and The Six, so I went ahead and requested it from my library.
It’s every bit as good as everyone says it is.
It’s about a fictional ’70’s rock-and-roll band called, “The Six,” because they have six players. Then they take on a new singer named Daisy Jones, they become Daisy Jones and The Six, they create an album that’s a huge hit, they sell out concerts, and then the band breaks up in the summer of ’79.
The story is told as a mockumentary: the idea is that someone has been doing interviews with Daisy, some of the band members, and a few of the people outside the band who were closest to the musicians.
Billy is the lead singer/songwriter, and he and his brother, Graham, taught themselves to play the guitar when they were kids, and as teenagers and young adults, they put the band together. They got a keyboardist named Karen, another guitarist named Pete (the one who takes the most umbrage with the fact that Billy acts as though it’s his band, rather than their band), Warren, and I can’t remember who else. Rob and Teddy were their managers, but Rob is the only one of the two who makes an appearance in the mockumentary.
The book briefly goes over Daisy’s childhood as a young girl who was prized for her beauty and nothing else. Her wealthy, gorgeous parents were too absorbed in their own lives to pay her any attention, and as a teenager she could come and go as she pleased without them noticing, and she did. She became a groupie, slept with rock stars and other men attached to rock stars, even when she didn’t particularly want to. She moved in for a while with her best friend, Simone, then got her own place, and finally signed a contract with a record label that wanted to record her first album, but didn’t want to record any of the hundreds of songs she had already written. She got herself a manager who convinced her that her songs really weren’t good enough to publish yet and she would have to play by the record label’s rules before anyone would record her songs. She realized he was right, so she played ball.
Meanwhile, Billy and Graham put together this band, they called it The Six, and Billy starts seeing a woman named Camille and got her pregnant. He freaked out when she told him she was pregnant because his father ran out on them when he was young, so he doesn’t know how to be a father and he’s afraid of screwing it up. So she gets pregnant and then they get married right before the band goes on its first tour to promote their first album and Billy lets the stress get to him and gets seriously addicted to all kinds of drugs and also starts sleeping with strange women. Camille catches him, but refuses to give up on him, so she gives him until the baby is born to “get it out of his system” and then straighten up. When he can’t even bring himself to go into the hospital to meet his newborn daughter, Teddy takes him straight to rehab.
Meanwhile, Daisy is getting deeper and deeper into drugs and alcohol, but she’s also learning about songwriting. She’s starting to make a name for herself around the same time that The Six is starting to gain some recognition, so when Billy writes a song that requires a female voice in order for it to be complete, they get Daisy to do vocals. She ends up touring with them and eventually gets signed on to join them for their second album.
Billy has a lot of problems with Daisy, including the fact that he has always had free reign to write all the band’s songs, and now there’s someone else demanding that her songs be considered and that she write with Billy. That doesn’t go over very well with Billy at first, but eventually they make up and learn to write together and end up making some hit songs, of which they’re both very proud.
Billy’s other problem with Daisy is that she’s an addict, and as a recovering addict, it’s very hard for him to be around her.
Nevertheless, they have a chemistry together that can’t be denied, and they end up falling in love, but Billy is deeply in love with Camille and their three daughters (by this time, they’ve had twins in addition to their first daughter) and has no intention of leaving them. So that pretty much leaves Daisy to deal with the pain of heartbreak on her own.
Meanwhile, Graham and Karen start seeing each other, but Graham wants to settle down and have kids and Karen doesn’t. She’s worked too hard to be taken seriously as a female musician in the male-dominated world of rock and roll and she’s not about to give it up any time soon, and that eventually leads to their breakup.
I loved Karen, and I loved her juxtaposition with Daisy. Karen wanted to wear sexy, girly outfits, but knew it would undermine her authority, so she left those at home. Daisy wore whatever she wanted and sometimes that meant a long men’s shirt with no pants. She was always warm because of all the drugs she was on, and as she put it, it wasn’t her responsibility not to turn men on, it was their responsibility not to be an asshole and I cannot tell you how much I loved that line. I want to frame it and put it on my wall.
The audiobook is especially worth listening to because they get a different actor to read the lines for each role and so it really feels like you’re listening to a documentary. The only thing that was missing from it was the album that Daisy Jones and The Six made together. The hard copy of the book has the lyrics in the back, but I want to listen to these songs being performed.
What did you read/listen to this week? Anything else that felt real to you, or made you wish it was real?