Well, I liked this book about as much as I liked American Dirt.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid tells the story of the titular band, specifically lead singers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunn, through their beginnings, their rise to fame, and their falling-out in the middle of a tour. The story is told through documentary-style, first-person interviews with the band, agents, family, and friends.
Firstly, I didn’t like the main characters, and I didn’t really connect with any other character. Daisy and Billy are both spoiled, entitled, and selfish people without much complexity. They felt like archetypical rock star figures, rather than real people. Sure, Billy has a family and struggles with addiction, and Daisy has a complicated relationship with her parents and has difficulty making real friends, but overall they aren’t that interesting. And the chemistry that is apparently supposed to be so obvious between them, for me, wasn’t there at all. I could tell I was supposed to be agonizing over their will they/won’t they relationship; I just… didn’t care.
Most of the other characters were… fine. Graham and Karen had a decent side plot (but with a disappointing ending); Simone was cool (but underutilized); Rod’s perspective of things as their manager was interesting. But I don’t think I could name the other members of the Six. Except Eddie, who I really can’t stand. What a whiny manchild.
The plot is sort of slow to start, but once Daisy and the Six meet, it does find more direction. I did want to see where their journey took them, and found the scenes during the writing of their album to be entertaining enough. However, the ending left a lot to be desired for me. It just kind of ended, without the drama that might be expected from a book about a rock band.
I think the main problem for me was that the narrative format made it hard to truly connect with the characters. Since this is told as interviews, the characters are telling the story as they saw it. But recalling and relating the events to the audience is different than allowing the audience to actually live with the characters, within the events as they occur. The way this book is written caused a disconnect between me and the story. I think I would have been more invested if this had been written like a normal book. (Though I doubt I’d have liked the characters better even then.)
That said, the audiobook of this really is the only way to go. The cast do an excellent job, injecting lots of feeling and personality into their performances. Also, I think hearing their voices was the only way I could have kept track of some of the male characters, of which there are several, and few of which are important. So having different voices helped a lot. More audiobooks should have full casts, honestly; this was the coolest part of this book.
In the end, Daisy Jones and the Six didn’t work for me, not from a writing, character, or plot standpoint. I’m sure other people would enjoy it, especially fans of rock bands and unconventional storytelling, but I’m not those people.
Overall rating: 6.5/10