Sunday 29 September 2019

#CBR11 Book 68: "Daisy Jones and the Six" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Page count: 368 pages
Audio book length: 9 hrs 3 mins
Rating: 4 stars

From Goodreads:
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, 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 and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, 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.

This is one of those books I've seen on pretty much all "Must Read" lists of books from 2019, and absolutely everyone seems very taken with it. Personally, I thought the book was entertaining, but if it hadn't been for the excellent work of the ensemble cast performing the audio book (including, among them, the wonderful Judy Greer), this would have easily been a three star book for me. Maybe it's just that I'm not all that interested in musicians and how music gets made?

Obviously, this is a fictional account of a famous musical collaboration, and every time I read about the book before I got the audio book for myself, it seemed like something my husband would really enjoy. He has wide and varied music tastes and buys and reads music magazines. With certain artists, he loves to listen to countless early versions of songs (or different live versions) that to me don't really sound all that different. Having been with my husband for nearly twenty years now, I've learned to tune a lot of music out, and even songs that I've probably heard hundreds of times, I can't necessarily remember the lyrics of, because I just don't really listen to the words. I certainly don't care much about how the music is played, or produced or mixed, as long as it sounds agreeable to me. Having now listened to the book, I'm still sure that he'd enjoy it more than I did - as he probably knows more about the sort of musical tradition it's fictionalising.

So I'm really not the target audience for this book, I think. I also found Daisy Jones annoying and spoiled for much of the book, while Billy Dunne was an arrogant, rather self-involved macho douche. What made me like the book at all were the supporting characters, and as I've already mentioned, that the various voice actors performing the audio book (seriously, there's like at least 20 different people involved) did an absolutely superb job. This is the first of two books by Ms. Jenkins Reid that I've listened to in audio book (I'm so far behind on my reviews again, you guys) and I much preferred the second, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. 

Judging a book by its cover: I'm going to guess that the red-headed woman on the cover is supposed to be Daisy, and can only say that based on the descriptions of her in the book, they either had a very different beauty standard in the 60s and 70s, or the publishing company could have tried to find a prettier cover model. I can only imagine that the book cover is meant to evoke one of the album covers of the fictional band this book covers, but I don't particularly like the image and think they should have picked something better for the cover.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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