‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ goes behind the music

“But she can’t sit down in the car, so she’s half laying down and has her makeup artist and stylist controlling her body.”

Often, the first thing I do after reading a book by a musician is head straight to Wikipedia to get the real story with some amount of objective distance. Seen from the inside, the life of a recording artist just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Everybody wants to know how you made magic happen, and the answer is almost always messy — unless you’re, say, Hall and Oates.

For her new novel Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid has used the format of an oral history about a fictional band. On the face of it, it’s an odd decision: there’s no shortage of actual oral histories about actual bands with actual records you probably enjoy, and God knows those books don’t lack for drama. So why make one up?

Think about it this way: Reid has written the oral history you want to read, the one where there are heart-rending untold stories about your favorite songs, the one that transforms the way you think about a band. Just because Daisy Jones & the Six aren’t actual people doesn’t make the story unsatisfying. After all, how real to you are the members of Fleetwood Mac?

It’s through her writing that Jenkins Reid works to bridge that gap, taking readers behind-the-scenes of celebrity to demonstrate that just because something looks great doesn’t mean it feels that way too. In 2017’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, she explored the heartache behind the glamour of a ’60s Hollywood starlet. And now, in her latest, Daisy Jones & the Six, she tells the whirlwind rise — and fall — of the titular fictional ’70s rock group. (Amazon has already ordered a 13-episode limited series, executive produced by Reese Witherspoon.)

“All the women in this story have an ability to assert themselves and control the narrative in a way I’m really proud of,” she says. “I don’t want to uphold the status quo. With Daisy, I didn’t want her sexuality to be determined by other people. We’ve seen that. I want a rock star who is 100 percent proud of her body and I want my daughter to live in a world where these stories exist. I don’t know what kind of person she is going to grow up to be, but I want her to live in a world in which there’s a way to be a Camila, a Simone, a Karen, or a Daisy Jones.”


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