Daisy Jones and the Six

Hello! As I continue my adoring analysis of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels, it’s time to tackle “the big one”: Daisy Jones and the Six. This is her most anguished and complicated novel. It’s also the novel that put her on the mainstream map, when Reese Witherspoon selected it for her book club. It’s also the first of her novels to be adapted for film or television; the Amazon Prime series premieres today! On the surface it’s an ode to the bygone era of 1970s rock, but it’s deeper. It’s about the complex and painful ways people love each other; how we hurt and heal, move forward or backslide.

Daisy Jones and the Six tells the fictional story of the rise and fall of the quintessential rock band of the 1970s. People who are old enough to appreciate Fleetwood Mac will immediately recognize the homage, but us young folks might miss some of the references. The format of a band biography transcript allows for unique perspectives from all the members and layered approaches to every key situation.

All page citations are from my paperback edition.


Daisy is a lost siren. A lonely childhood and turbulent adolescence have propelled her to early stardom, but her drug addiction competes with her creativity to control her life. Be,fore joining The Six, only person truly in her corner is her friend Simone. Once she joins the band though, her friendships and struggles with the other women around her will captivate readers.

Billy Dunne is struggling. His whole identity and character arc centered on redeeming himself. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t think centering an identity on your problems is all that productive. It works in this case because Billy serves as a contrast to Daisy, but I have to imagine he would be a nightmare in reality. Billy has no internal strength. He relies on his wife and his band for every ounce of validation and stability he can find.

As troubled as Daisy and Billy are individually, they’re magnetic when they share the stage. Their songwriting chemistry is captivating, and other band members describe long, intense stares between them (101, 121.) No one else can miss the chemistry between them, despite their best efforts to keep it professional. But this isn’t your typical “safe option vs dangerous option” romance. There are layers, and everyone makes difficult and sometimes surprising choices.

Camila Dunne is an underdeveloped martyr. As Billy’s long-suffering wife, she’s the “pure and redeeming muse”, his inspiration for staying sober. But her enduring patience is also puzzling. In her mind, she can separate love and fidelity, which is something I can’t personally do. Their marriage endures, and she is Billy’s archetypal muse and inspiration… until she isn’t. Her moment of battle comes near the end of the book, and it’s puzzling to me: she puts up with the same shit for so long but why does she choose that moment to stand up for herself? Her journey of embracing motherhood is heat warming, and serves a nice contrast with the other women of The Six.

Daisy and Camila are definitely complex and nuanced characters, but they also clearly fill opposing archetypes- the siren/temptress, and the martyr. They have a unique respect for each other, understanding their complex individual entanglements with Billy.

Karen is an excellent liar, mainly to herself. As the keyboardist for The Six, and the only other female in the band, she offers a solid feminist perspective. This is a refreshingly different archetype from Daisy’s “traumatized muse”. Karen doesn’t seem to realize that her feminism might be getting in the way of her true desires, even when readers can see it at the end of the book. Karen insists she has “no regrets” about spending her life on tour and opting out of motherhood, but I have a hard time believing her. She does make a good point that “men think they deserve a sticker for treating women like people” (29.) Her other shining one-liner is “That’s the glory of being a man. An ugly face isn’t the end of you” (57).

Graham is lost too, but he’s more at peace. He defines himself mainly as “Billy’s little brother” (240), and “the guy who’s in love with Karen”. As the “first mate” of the band, he knows better than to compete with Billy, but he can’t save other parts of his world from crashing around him. He doesn’t have much impact on the story, primarily reacting to Billy and Karen’s decisions, but I feel for him.

Honorable mention goes to Julia Dunne. Without too many spoilers, her character presents an interesting framing and narrative device on page 315, similar to The French Lieutenant’s Woman.


Like Elvis, this movie follows the classic tragic arc of a rock-and-roll rise and fall. Unlike Elvis, the fall is abrupt, and there is a more peaceful resolution. The book is structured in loose sections of varying length, with all of the characters speaking in almost every section. Although the middle of the book is packed with tension, the rising action stalls a bit just before the climax, and the last ten pages of the main action are kind of a slog.


The aesthetic of the book is best described on page 228: “It was America. It was [breasts]. It was sex. It was drugs. It was summer. It was angst. It was rock ‘n roll.” The speaker is describing an album cover, but this works for the entire novel too. Even Daisy and Billy’s fashion choices speak to their tension, with him always in denim and her bangles and large hoop earrings. Reid loves her hometown of Los Angeles, so the scenery of California adds to the heady euphoria of the story. Later in the novel, there are more appearances on classic shows like Late Night with Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live. Referencing these iconic shows helps cement the iconic status of the band.


Since this fictional band is inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the songs they write and perform carry extra significance. Throughout the writing process of their joint album, the music speaks for itself. That’s the easiest way to put it without spoilers or quotes. 🙂

One of the benefits of the audiobook is that there is a bonus song. This is an instrumental of “Honeycomb”, the first song Daisy and Billy recorded together. I wish they could’ve hired two vocalists, but the sweet and wistful melody is still a lovely treat for Audible readers. I am excited to see how the Amazon show adapts these wonderful lyrics to the screen.


I’ve only scratched the surface of the complexities and intricacies of this wonderful novel. Taylor Jenkins Reid deserves all of her success and more. Her characters are layered and relatable, her descriptive writing is immersive, and her signature California aesthetic invites readers on an adventure. Pick up a copy today, and check out the new show on Amazon Prime! I might do a follow-up comparing the two, We shall see. That’s all from me for now, and I’ll see you on the flip side!


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