Review: Daisy Jones & The Six
Book by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Advanced copy provided by NetGalley
Early reviews for this book gush about it. And, of course, we all know Reese Witherspoon already purchased the rights for a limited Amazon series. All of this, coupled with the fact that Taylor is one of my favorite authors, means I was expecting to be singing this book’s praises, too. But...I simply didn’t connect with it.
I’m disappointed to write those words. I love Taylor’s books. I tell everyone I meet to read Forever, Interrupted and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Daisy Jones & The Six is a complete departure, though — from her style, from her pacing. Before I get into why I didn’t love this book, let me first say that there is zero argument that it’s impeccably written. After the first “chapter,” I googled whether or not this band is real. Because Taylor masters their individual voices. It’s unfathomable that one woman wrote 10(?) unique voices, their stories unfolding so authentically that you would think it’s a real interview and not total fiction. Taylor’s talent blows me away.
Similarly, this book is one-of-a-kind different. This isn’t something you’ve seen or read before in the fiction world. Which again speaks to Taylor’s vision — her undeniable creativity. Her style has grown measures since her debut, Forever, Interrupted. And that’s also where my disconnection with Daisy Jones & The Six begins.
I fell in love with Taylor’s writing style from her first book. The following four, I loved in almost equal measure (there is only one I felt was a miss). I was so thrown by the narrative format when I started Daisy Jones that I only continued to stumble. I had no idea the book would be written in interview style, with alternating voices always speaking to the omnipresent author and not each other, not really.
Because of this, you only ever get dialogue. There is no traditional character development through background storytelling. For me, that’s one tradition I need while reading fiction in order to truly connect with a character — to feel emotionally invested in their journey. Because of this, while I found these characters interesting, I didn’t really care what happened to them. I felt so far removed. Like I was indeed reading an article, which is emotionally a wildly different feeling than learning about a character’s internal struggles and backgrounds.
Some will argue that we got those very things in Daisy Jones. And we did, to an extent. But again, because of the format, those things are always told to us, not shown. Which for me, creates a detachment from the heart of the emotion.
Ultimately, I never looked forward to picking this book back up. I didn’t think about it all day, waiting to get home to start in again. I just knew I had to read it. I’ve racked my brain for answers as to why I didn’t like this, especially when all other early reviewers LOVE it. And I think it comes down to two things: one, the format, as described above, and two, the plot. Because as it turns out, I guess I just don’t connect all that much with the self-imposed struggles musicians go through. Unlike Taylor’s other books, where the “hero’s journey” is completely relatable, and you close the book feeling understood, Daisy Jones feels like a hyped-up Behind the Music, a bit fantastical, and so far unrelated to your everyday life as an average human.
I’m sure thousands of people will love this book. And I actually really look forward to it as a TV show (I almost think it’ll work better that way). But it’s not for me. I’m disappointed I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t like the characters, and not in a fun way like you hate Nick and Amy in Gone, Girl. They’re just not the type of people I want to read about. They’re too selfish and narcissistic (masquerading as introspective), and I never felt stirred by their attempt to be deep and poetic in their music. I didn’t feel it. And this is why books are really so subjective. Some stories speak to people, and others don’t even whisper.
I hope others continue to love Daisy Jones, because I want all of the success for Taylor. Until then, I’m excited to give the show, and her next book, a try.