It’s not difficult to see the hand of Reese Witherspoon in this Netflix series. It’s a historical, somewhat nostalgic look at the age of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll well past its infancy, as well as a spyglass full of the 70s LA rock music scene. An almost faithful reproduction of the book.
Netflix TV Series
After listening to the audiobook and reading Reese’s bubbling promo of her series baby, I couldn’t help but tune in as soon as it was released. Admittedly, it began almost as sluggishly as the book and the CE ignored it—found something else to do. I think it was somewhere around the third episode he began to find interest.
With this type of unusual format, it takes a minute or two to get used to the interview technique that the book and the series employs to introduce each of the characters. It didn’t take as long for the general viewer to get hooked, however, exhibiting an impressive increase in demand on the most streamed TV series across US platforms. Even Rotten Tomatoes “reported a 70% approval rating with an average of 6.7/10*.”
The series is written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber alongside Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter. The author Taylor Jenkins Reid also produces the ten-episode series that examines the reason for the dissolution of the fictional band twenty years after their final emotionally charged concert.
There is a full-length album, Aurora, that was released by Atlantic Records in March. The lead vocals are performed by Riley Keough (Elvis’ granddaughter) and
Sam Claflin as in the series.
(The pricy album is available on vinyl on Amazon. I love the album cover!)
Daisy is played as a rich but neglected daughter, while Billy played the older brother (Dunne brothers) and band leader-vocalist in his garage-originated boy band. I couldn’t help but think of Janis Joplin—that same carefree boozy attitude (although I still prefer Janis). I didn’t care for either Daisy or Billy and knew the hate-to-love trope was working its magic and indeed, sparks begin to fly.
Watching the two steal glances at each other, you had to wonder how much is real and what is an act. The chemistry is amazing. Neither did I care much for other members of the band although I liked Teddy Price, the producer.
Early in the series, I thought I recognized passages directly from the audiobook, familiar phrasing they used and I particularly enjoyed these quotables:
Buddhists say, “Pain is inevitable—suffering is optional.”
“I think it’s easy to confuse a soul-mate with a mirror.”
#2 this week
As most know, Daisy Jones & The Six was Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club of the month in March of this year, but the book was published back in March of 2019.
It reads like the story of a band on a rocket to the top of the rock band list in the middle and late 70s. It sells the idea through the interviews of each of the band members, examining their origins and their rise through the LA music scene twenty years after the abrupt split of the band following their concert in Chicago.
There is a decided division where the series and the book splits somewhat with what happens to the support characters. I love the outdoor scenes of the photo shoots and concerts. Watching the interviews with the characters makes it easier to remember who is speaking than does the audiobook, where I sometimes lost track.
The clothes, styles, hair was so perfect; absolutely puts you back in the decade along with the music. As the episodes progress, there is greater inclusion of the music, snippets of the concerts, and I hoped for more. 4.5 stars
Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Historical Fiction (2019)
A Reese’s Book Club + Hello Sunshine on Audible Pick
A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous breakup.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in LA in the late ’60s, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s 20, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the ’70s. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
The unusual writing style threw me at first when I started this audiobook. There are interviews that started introducing the characters of the band and I finally caught on to the unique style of getting to know the individuals, their role in the storyline, and the inkling of who they are, how they got here.
Plunged deeply into the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll era, Daisy quickly becomes iconic. She is the personification of a free love, braless society, with strong women finding their voice in more ways than ever before. Sometimes I envied their newly found freedom.
The ‘70s LA music scene is wild and as the characters took on more shape, more personality, it is obviously part of the whole societal revolt happening at the time.
Hubby and I missed much of the cultural revolution being outside of the country during his Naval service until 1970. It was shocking when we came home to see how our country changed during our absence. We were still the earlier generation’s sensibilities, married, working, paying taxes, and busy ignoring the craziness going on around us.
The bands—so many—and so many messages of resistance, peace, and love. This fiction saga is strongly rumored to follow somewhat loosely the story of Fleetwood Mac (and by extension, Stevie Nicks. We were not a fan).
Daisy is the product of a rich family, largely ignored or forgotten altogether, and drowned her stinging rejection with anything she could swallow. She manages, however, to become established locally on a low scale in the music scene and begins to write her own music. Equally largely unknown The Six (the Dunne brothers), evolving as the members aged, one going into the conflict only to die on ‘Nam soil. Billy, their leader is controlling, narcissistic.
The book explores several themes besides love, loss, and addiction and is an apparent hate-to-love trope soon after Daisy joins the band. Still, it can’t be denied that between them they manage to come up with some winning songs and begin to gain popularity, particularly after the band meets a producer/promoter.
Of course, it’s totally character-driven—certainly Daisy and Billy take center stage ramping up the tension between herself and Billy’s main lady (who births a daughter) and as each of the other characters are interviewed weigh in on how they impact the success of the band.
I did enjoy the little twist at the end, revealing the source of the interviews. 4 stars
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as well as One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her newest novel, Malibu Rising, is out now. She lives in Los Angeles.
You can follow her on Instagram @tjenkinsreid.
Genre: Fiction Sagas, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
Listening Length: 9 hrs 3 mins
Narrator: Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Pablo Schreiber
Audible Release: March 5, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Daisy Jones & the Six [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble (TV series tie-in)
Hooked and crazy engaging, totally entertaining after a slow burn entry. Riley sells it as Daisy—she is Daisy—in her expressions, sober or not. The production sells the time, location, atmosphere. It is so compelling. My only quibble was the ending—not as the book would have it—but searching for that happy ever-after feeling and perhaps not so realistic as the authenticity it earlier gained.
The book keeps a steady pace for the most part, although it is somewhat slow to gain interest at the beginning. The narrators do a great job with their parts and as the book moves toward conclusion, ramps up the tension. It is such a unique writing style, but it works. Engaging and entertaining, into that era, that pop culture, those post-conflict ballads. The interviews gain a deeper understanding of what leads to the breakdown and quietly concludes but the switch between interviews can be confounding.
Watching Riley as Daisy is compelling. She sells her part, spoiled entitled brat that she is. I even began to like Billy near the conclusion. But it’s a visual feast for the eyes as well as the ears and edges out the audiobook. Even if that isn’t your generation, you can watch and be mesmerized by the birth, growth, and frenetic rise that once again, begins to sour under the weight of stardom. The depth of emotion is beautiful.
©2023 V Williams
*Stat info attribute Wikipedia
Actor photos courtesy Google