This book had been on my radar for a while but I actually read it for our most recent book club choice.
The novel is written in an interview format with integrating snippets from the fictional band members of 'The Six', from superstar singer Daisy Jones, and from the family, friends and colleagues who surround them.
Set in the 70's, the band very closely resembles Fleetwood Mac and author Taylor Jenkins Reid talks openly about her inspiration being the context and stories around the creation of the infamous Rumours album in 1977.
I absolutely loved the essence of hedonistic, glamourised rock and roll lifestyle in the book. We watch many of the main characters - Daisy at the fore - tumble through cocaine-fuelled chaos as their lives spin on momentum and music and not much else. Whilst the lead singer Billy struggles with alcohol addiction and the clash this causes with his home and family life, fancy-free Daisy whirls through on a cloud of 'couldn't care less' and it's captivating.
We all said that we read the book quickly and got swept up in the story and characterisation, as well as listening a lot to the Rumours album because it's just SO good! There are sub-plots and stories of the other band members as well as issues of emotional loss, yearning for role models, and the different perspectives of infidelity and boundaries within the group.
Particularly interesting to me was the character of Camilla, Billy's wife. Left at home with her daughters for much of the novel, she stands by her husband throughout his affairs and breakdowns, as well as his inevitable fall for Daisy Jones. There are so many literary depictions which criticise women who stay with cheating husbands as 'weak' but Camilla somehow reclaims the situation to her advantage. Each time Billy fails her, she reasserts her dominance and decides that they will not break as a couple, because she doesn't want them to.
This brought up lots of provocative conversation in our group about the issue and stereotyping of women who stay with cheating husbands. The scene at the end where Camilla sits down with Daisy and states the facts clearly to her is astonishing to me. She explains to the younger, fragile woman that she knows her husband is in love with them both, but that she's not going to let him leave their marriage, so Daisy might as well forget about it and walk away.
This hit such a nerve with me because I couldn't get my head around the idea that a wife would accept the fact that her husband was in love with somebody else, and still stay with him. And what's more, she did this powerfully, with strength and integrity. Such a complex and interesting character, she definitely stimulated a lot of conversation and ability to see a situation from an alternative perspective.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has since written two more well-received novels; 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' and 'Malibu Rising' which are most definitely on my to-read list. They apparently have a different style - the interview format of Daisy Jones being quite unique - but a similar captivating narrative with characters who you get really invested in. Plus, Malibu Rising has the most beautiful cover!
I'll be reading and reviewing them soon, so I'll keep you posted.