For months, I’ve felt a deep longing for the days of temporarily disposing of my phone and getting lost in a novel. These days, I can just about skim-read to page 10 before a familiar sense of anxiety washes over me, like I need to be somewhere else, doing something else. Being still, concentrating on one task for a decent amount of time, feels like a gargantuan task. If I need instant, unadulterated escapism? I turn to Netflix for a non-reality check.
Perhaps this is the secret to the unparalleled charm of Daisy Jones & The Six. It’s more than a book. It reads like a tell-all documentary; you become immersed in a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll thunderstorm, trying to find a roadmap to calmer scenes. It’s A Star Is Born and Almost Famous in literary incarnation. Unsurprising to fans, then, that Taylor Jenkin Reid’s novel is to be adapted for TV (Reese Witherspoon is to produce the Amazon Prime series - though filming has been halted due to you know what).
The story - an oral history of the meteoric rise and fall of an iconic rock band in the 1970s is fictional. (I googled nearly a quarter of the way in, just to be absolutely sure). Though it can be read as a recreation of the Fleetwood Mac-era soap opera. Unearthing the "truth" – through the lens of memory - behind the headlines and heart-breaking songs. What happens when the music stops? What drugs were they taking? How often? Whose sleeping with who? Does X love Y? Hang on, wait - do they even...like each other?
The enigmatic frontwoman, Daisy Jones, (set to be portrayed by Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough on screen) is impulsive and completely seductive. She exudes a won’t-stop-for-anyone spirit akin to a young Stevie Nicks; refuses to go small to make other people feel bigger, expertly opposed to people pleasing simply to satisfy the whims of male ego (rife during the 70s music scene).
“I had absolutely no interest in being someone else’s muse,” she tells an illusive interviewer. “I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.” Her goal was never to be famous, but to “make something interesting and original and cool.”
Great novels are the ones that you forget you’re even reading. Like the early stages of falling in love. Daisy Jones & The Six is that; a fun and gripping trip from start to finish. A cool reminder that we’re all a baggage of complicatedness but we can still choose to weed through the bullshit, nonetheless.
Daisy’s voice will ring in your ear long after you’ve turned the last page. I used to care when men called me difficult. I really did. Then I stopped. This way is better.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available to buy here.