Words by Emily Fuller
It’s the late sixties, the paramount of bare feet, drugs and rock and roll. Daisy Jones, a coming of age woman is gaining recognition for her allure and her undying relationship with the LA music scene. Simultaneously, a rock and roll blues band, The Six, is also gaining momentum within the music scene as brooding front man Billy Dunne is leading them into prominence, as he struggles to use his moral compass to navigate through substance abuse, fame, marriage and fatherhood. When Daisy and Billy encounter each other through their record label, the band soon realises that the key to supercharged success is through Daisy and Billy’s unwavering chemistry when it comes to performing.
And so, the history and events of the building of this rock and roll legend are chronicled decades later in an exclusive interview with each of the band members of Daisy Jones and the Six – one of the most colossal bands of the seventies.
Whilst I think this a book that will draw a distinct line for readers as to whether they love or hate this novel, Daisy Jones absolutely compelled me from start to finish. Set between the mid sixties to the late seventies, this book completely transported me in rock and roll’s most iconic age, in all of its glory. Along with such a captivating atmosphere, Jenkins’ characters are incredibly multifaceted and flawed. While both Billy and Daisy present a lot of frustration for readers due to their inflated sense of self-importance and delusion, you cannot help but feel the sting of their heartbreaks and losses as well as empathise with their internal struggles to appreciate their sense of selves.
I really appreciated how obscurely feminist this novel was – in the midst of a male-dominated industry, Jenkins’ female characters were offered a space to thrive in their self-determination. The novel presented a multiplicity of modes of femininity, ranging from motherhood through to independent successful musicians. I loved the fact that it doesn’t discriminate against particularly ambitions of different female characters – particularly in relation to right of determination when it comes to abortion. Each female character is layered power and dynamic. Additionally, every female-female relationship is depicted with a sense of wholesomeness and individuality against a backdrop of egotism within the music industry. I think Jenkins achieved a beautiful synergy within her study of a variety of feminine experiences. Here is a little taster just for how empowering this novel is:
I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.
The other centre of focus of the novel that really enlightened me was the notion of addiction, in its dark and devastating nature. Both Billy and Daisy’s addiction illustrate the glamorisation of substance abuse during this era, while not romanticising it themselves. Ultimately, this novel exposes the reality of drug consumption and the underlying hope that struggles to breach within addicts.
Before I finish ranting on, I have to make a special acknowledgment of the music that was inextricably woven throughout the course of the novel. I am super impressed with Jenkins commitment to creating a holistic experience, as she includes an entirely lyricised album of Daisy Jones and the Six. Not only were they completely original songs, the lyrics were so relevant to the creative processes of both Billy and Daisy.
All in all, I thought Daisy Jones and the Six was a raw exploration into not only the music industry of the seventies, but was a deeply affecting study on the human ego in the light of music, fame, addiction and identity. For me, this was a totally new experience going into reading this due to the fact that it was written wholly as an oral history, however I thought that just added to the creativity and otherness that I oh so loved about it.