I’m a big audiobook fan. I spend at least two hours in the car each day, so audiobooks help keep me sane while I’m in traffic or dealing with asinine driving: people who text, people who clean their windshields, people who drive under the speed limit, people who do not signal (I’m looking at you, Matt Russikoff!). Anyway, I mention all this to say that if it weren’t for audiobooks, I’d be nuttier than I am now.
I have my favorites, and they won’t surprise you. You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. The Idea of You by Robinne Lee. My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Becoming by Michelle Obama. All the Harry Potter books. But I can now say that Daisy Jones & The Six is near the top of this list. I don’t know what reading the book was like; I can only speak to how it sounded. And it sounded that a complex, well-orchestrated symphony (music pun intended).
Daisy Jones & The Six is about a band coming together and creating music in the 70s. It’s all about their trials and tribulations—the real-life drama they experienced. I say “real life” because this story feels very real. Matt and I had to look up whether this was an actual band because the author, Taylor Jenkins Reid, is so masterful and compelling in her storytelling. (In case you’re curious as well—the band’s not real but the other bands and locations mentioned are.)
The format of the book is unusual in that the story is told through a series of interviews. This is where it can get confusing at first, because there are 21 narrators, and Taylor doesn’t always preface each interview response with the person’s name. But, ultimately, you get to know voices and tones. Over time, they become as familiar to you as everyday acquaintances.
What I love most about the audiobook is how natural it sounded. The narrators took breaths and paused, and said “umm” and “like” and other colloquialisms. It really did feel like these people were being interviewed and they were answering honestly and on the spot.
And the voices! The voices were so perfect for each person. Daisy Jones is known for having a raspy singing voice, and the person cast as her, Jennifer Beals, also has a raspy voice. Billy Dunne, another important character, has a lot of regrets, and you can hear the brooding remorse in the way Pablo Schreiber shares his side of the story.
The book has something for everyone, covering a variety of topics: feminism, rock history, the consequences of altered states. And did I mention there’s romance? There is, and while it’s an important piece, what’s more important are the relationships between people and how they’re tested because of decisions and circumstances. This is a character study that just so happens to have an evocative plot as well.
I’m not surprised Reese Witherspoon said she couldn’t put down this book and fell “head over heels” for it. Honestly, this audiobook made me want to be in the car longer, because I didn’t want chapters to end. I didn’t want the characters to stop speaking. Yes, it’s THAT good. In fact, I can see it winning many Audies (audiobook awards) in the future.
To say that Daisy Jones & The Six is the best audiobook I have ever listened to is an unfair statement…it is the only audiobook I have ever listened to (outside of Harry Potter).
While Erica has long drives and enjoys the audiobook platform, I have always found myself getting distracted or daydreaming while listening to previous books and then missing pieces. Almost like I can’t engage with audiobooks the same way I do with regular books. But that was not the case here. I found myself listening to the book while I drove, walked the dog, and even worked. I was that caught up in it.
The thing is, Daisy Jones & The Six does not feel like an audiobook. It doesn’t have only one or two narrators making up voices for each character. As Erica mentioned, it has more than 20 different actors playing roles in the story. It’s not an audiobook so much as a show. It felt like what radio shows must have been like before TV was around.
In many sections, the speaker would say their name and then start talking. Erica mentioned it being told in an interview style, but you don’t hear the questions. You hear the speakers telling their story and it feels like a production company then edited their answers together to tell a story. This is a really unique and cool approach to storytelling. I imagine the author had a lot of fun writing this story.
The characters are unique and well developed. But I especially loved the music parts of this book. Talking about the writing process, the moments of inspiration, the emotions that go into a song, and then what happens when your most painful or happiest moments are published for the world to hear.
The story felt very full and complete; the attention to detail was very clear. And get this! I didn’t blush once. Not. Even. Once. Boom! #Growth. However, there are still all kinds of emotions to go through. You will laugh and cry and yell at people while you’re driving so much so that passing cars look at you strangely (or that might just be me).
I loved the timeframe of the story. Hearing about what it was like to play shows in Hollywood and partying in legendary LA places like the Riot House added to this feeling that the story and the band were real.
In thinking about what I wanted to say in this review, I kept coming back to the same way of describing it. It feels like part Fleetwood Mac (if you know any of their stories), mixed with portions of the beginning of A Star is Born and then lots of Almost Famous, combined together and told through an NPR-style medium.
I’m torn on whether this book is great due to the story being great and the actors bringing it to life, or whether it is due to the novelty of having more than 20 actors bringing more to the story. I will leave the answer to that question up to you.
What I am sure of is that while I may not be a converted audiobook fan just yet, it was fun to listen to. Benjamin Bratt from Law and Order (and Miss Congeniality as the ladies might remember him) is in it. So is Jennifer Beals from the original Flashdance. Judy Greer from just about everything (go look her up if the name doesn’t sound familiar) plays an amazing Karen Karen. And my favorite actress in the book Robinne Lee, from Fifty Shades of Grey and author of The Idea of You, plays the best friend, Simone. The characters were cast perfectly and I wouldn’t change a thing.
It’s hard to recommend this audiobook, because the term “audiobook” doesn’t do it justice. But it is easy to recommend this show and entertainment experience.
Now, as for driving skills…ouch! I did not even see that bus coming! Do I text and drive? No. Do I turn on the windshield washer while driving? Well… Yes, yes I do. Especially recently with all the butterflies migrating. It’s like a crime scene on my windshield! Have I changed lanes without signaling? I plead the fifth. Do I drive slow…er than Erica? Yes. I will own it. Erica gets behind the wheel and is suddenly Danica Patrick, ready to race everyone! The girl honked at someone who moved in front of us on Christmas Eve! CHRISTMAS EVE! #RoadRageWivesAreTheHottestWives
As for comments on my driving, I will end here with a quote from Warren, the drummer in The Six, “I didn’t give a shit then, I don’t give a shit now.”
He definitely doesn’t give a shit, that’s for sure. As for honking on Christmas Eve…I don’t care what time of year it is; if you cut someone off, you’re getting the horn. That driver’s lucky he didn’t get the bird.
I’ve never listened to a radio show before, but I imagine that Matt is right—this audiobook has similarities to that format.
And the way he described Daisy Jones & The Six being like Fleetwood Mac/A Star Is Born/Almost Famous/NPR—he nailed it! It is definitely all those things and more.
One more thing… If you’re not a fan of 70s music, don’t let that sway you from listening to (or reading) this book. Aside from Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, and Pink Floyd, I could do without this decade of music. Daisy is so much more than this though. It’s much more about the process than it is about what’s being played.
Bonus for audiobook listeners: you get to hear an instrumental version of “Honeycomb” (a famous song from the story) at the end. So worth it!
To purchase a copy of or read the synopsis for the audiobook of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six, click here.
To purchase a copy of or read the synopsis for the ebook of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six, click here.