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Book Review: 'Daisy Jones & The Six'

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Springtime inspires me to sweep out the garage, strip the flannel sheets off the bed and exchange all those bulky coats and sweaters for T-shirts and flip-flops. And that’s when I gleefully grab mind-candy novels like “Daisy Jones & The Six” – the latest from author Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Set in the sex, drugs and rock ’n roll culture of the 1970s, the novel begins with L.A. “it girl” Daisy Jones, who sneaks into clubs, sleeps with rock stars and dreams of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. With a gritty voice like Janis Joplin’s, Daisy eventually joins The Six, an up-and-coming rock band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. What follows is a mockumentary-style history of the band and its journey to a final concert in the summer of ’79.

The novel reads like an episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” written in dialogue from “interviews” with the various characters. The technique could run the risk of feeling disjointed or gimmicky, but Reid manages to make her novel come alive with scenes that put you smack in the middle of that bell-bottomed era. I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction, in fact. I kept wanting to Google the band to see their faces, listen to the music, and check out Daisy and Billy on the cover of “Rolling Stone.”

The novel’s only weakness is an anticlimactic and somewhat cheesy revelation toward the end, but even that doesn’t sway me from singing its praises, particularly to anyone who enjoyed Reid’s previous work, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” Reese Witherspoon has already snapped up the rights to “Daisy Jones” and plans to co-produce a 13-episode series with Amazon Prime.

Overall, the novel reads like guilty-pleasure television, a voyeuristic story of love, loss, passion and addiction – all centered around a free-spirited singer-songwriter who refuses to be anybody else’s muse. Find a spot in the sunshine and dive right in.

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.