I used to care when men called me difficult. I really did. Then I stopped. This way is better.
this is a breeeeezy zip of a book. it’s written in a gossipy, fragmented way, using snippets of “behind the music”-style interviews to chronicle the rise and fall; the relationships, adventures, and misadventures of a fictional 70s rock band called daisy jones & the six, which is apparently modeled after fleetwood mac.
reid’s frothy trip down imaginary rock and roll lane is shaped as a book-in-the-making, allowing former band members, rock critics, producers, friends and lovers the opportunity to supply or respond to other participants’ admissions concerning all the seamy behind-the-scenes dirt that is part and parcel of fame’s mythos – the resentments, the sex and drinking and drugs, the creative differences, the posturing; the whole roiling emotional toll of the rock and roll lifestyle.
there’s a special emphasis on the burdens and perceptions and scrutiny that comes with being a woman in the industry, and in a band numbering seven people, the juggling of egos and managing status and contribution and consensus becomes a real issue along with the compromises one makes for commercial viability, being an artist vs. being a star, personal/artistic sacrifices made for the good of the band — and things get, as the kids say, complicated.
although reid has to construct these personas using only what is essentially a series of monologues, she does it well and consistently, and there’s some fun to be had in observing who among the characters are forthright, who politely declines to answer, or whose memories differ or contradict the memories of others. this makes for a little subtext of a story about how memories change over time, how situations are interpreted based on a participant’s perspective or the filter of hindsight, or how misunderstandings, when allowed to go unchallenged, often snowball into bigger problems than they ought to have.
in a related theme, it’s interesting to see how this phenomenon transcends the interpersonal level and is carried out into the legend of the band – how lyrics are interpreted, misinterpreted, how rumors grow around them, how situations are inflated for a juicier tale, and how the press operates as kingmakers – creating or perpetuating the aura of stardom on the slimmest of pretexts.
it’s a fun, light summertime book sprinkled with great lines. the best one?
Karen was the kind of person who had more talent in her finger than most people have in their whole body…
and don’t you forget it.
reading for marieclaire.com’s all-lady-authors book club