By Mollie Campbell
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Music, Drama
Overall rating: 8/10
Before I even begin my review, I should probably give you a little bit history about myself. My favourite band is Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are two of my biggest influences, both as a duo, within Fleetwood Mac and in both of their solo careers. I am also a 70’s fanatic, I am obsessed with the era, I love too many 70’s bands to name, and I love California. So a book titled ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’, about a 70’s rock band in California…. dream come true right?
Well, yes and no. Daisy, Daisy, Daisy…where do I begin? I’ll start off by saying that I was looking forward to this book long before it was released, and I was the first person to buy it in my local book store. Everything about it looked awesome, the colourful front cover, the black sprayed edges, the fake ticket stubs when you open up the first page, the band’s album lyrics written at the end, and the hazy palm trees on the back cover…it is a music junkie’s dream. The book is written in different year groups e.g. 1965-1972, 1973-1975 etc. with the initial focus being on Daisy and her back story, with interjections from the other members of the band and how they began before they met Daisy, (they were just called ‘The Six’ back then). Eventually the stories combine and we see how they become ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’, what is a cool addition to the plot is the way it is written, in the form of an interview, with each member speaking at different times, resulting in what feels like an iconic Rolling Stone interview.
The characters are great, Daisy is a bit of a hippie, floating through life but she is fierce and knows exactly who she is, in fact, she clashes with anybody who tries to strip her from her own sense of individuality and freedom. Then we have Billy, the dark haired band leader who is just as artistically stubborn as Daisy. The rest of the band are called; Graham, Karen, Eddie, Pete and Warren, and this is the story of how they became the biggest band in the world, what got them there, what almost stopped them from getting there and how they gave it all up so abruptly. This is an addictive read, the layout makes it so easy to just plough through it in no time, the author has created a bunch of characters that every music fan will resonate with, they encapsulate every musician that ever existed in the 70’s. The hippie in them provided that laidback vibe, the determination in them gave us that inextinguishable creative fire, they were close to the average person, raw and emotional yet the sex, drugs and Rock & Roll that came with it is highlighted as exuberant, which is exactly what it was. Her commentary on this time in the industry, and within society is spot on, this tale has been lived before, it is wonderful to read, I wasn’t even alive in the 70’s but I could feel the nostalgia within my bones as I read this book.
I am a song-writer, I play the guitar, I love Fleetwood Mac, I am obsessed with the 70’s, and I fell in love with the characters that were coming to life more vividly with every page I turned, so why, after all of that, did I finish the book with a sense of disappointment? I am going to be honest here, whilst I loved the idea of the format it is in, (it gives it a sense of uniqueness), and whilst I am impressed that the author managed to creative these characters within such a limited amount of space, I can’t help but feel a bit cheated. The reason it was easy for her to develop this story is because these characters aren’t fictional, we know them…the characters are Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The band is Fleetwood Mac, their album ‘Aurora’ is ‘Rumours’, there is no denying it, the book is a complete parallel with the band, a carbon copy. Every scenario in there is relevant to Fleetwood Mac, the history, the time-frame, the location and it all felt a little too unoriginal. It is essentially just a love letter to the band, and that isn’t a major problem, but it just feels a bit too close for comfort.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, in fact I was 99% sure I’d written it myself and that Taylor Jenkins Reid had just plagiarised it, this book was written for me, and every other musician like me. But it’s better if you just pretend it is a biography about Fleetwood Mac, which is what is enjoyable, it makes you feel like a fly on the wall during the recording of Rumours, giving us a fictional envisionment of what it was like to be there, an insight we’ll never truly get our hands on. That is why it is brilliant; it is a piece of fan fiction. And I think that was my main problem, it was just so easy to write, there isn’t a lot of depth due to the nature of how it was written, but I’m probably just annoyed that I didn’t publish it first. So in terms of originality I wouldn’t rate it very highly, but I do give credit where it is due, I love the characters, I adore the fact that she has taken the time to write lyrics to every single song from the fictional ‘Aurora’ album, and I love the references throughout. So thank you for transporting me into the centre of my wildest dreams, for that alone I’d give it a 8/10. Sorry if this review was a bit all over the place, I was trying to give an honest view without completely criticising it, because I did thoroughly enjoy the book and I would encourage people to read it, I just needed to explain a few of the things that didn’t quite sit right.
Despite the troubles that may simply only be present in my eyes, I did love it, everything about it. The good far outweighed the bad, and most of my criticism probably stems from my sacred worship of Fleetwood Mac, and the fact that it could easily have been written by any other music fan like me. And I am sure I will read it again and again, and heck, reading just a couple of words in the middle inspired an impromptu song-writing session, and any piece of material that inspires me to write a song that quickly, in my eyes, is a good one. Check it out, and let me know what you think!