• Carmen Milligan

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I am juggling several books right now, not really very serious about finishing any of them. I guess I am in a little bit of a reading slump. But I left early on Friday to meet my parents for lunch and, knowing I would be early, grabbed a book to read while I waited on them. The book I grabbed? Daisy Jones & The Six.

There is something about this book that is resonating with me. I don't think it's the subject matter (an up-and-coming band), the timeframe (circa 1970s), or the characters (all are interesting in their own way, and all add depth to the story). No. I think it's the way it is written. It is written in the form of a documentary, interview-style, oral history. The interviews take place now, as the characters remember, reflect, and reminisce on their history during the time of the band's beginnings, extreme popularity, and break up. Not only do you get the story, but you also get the reflections of the characters. Kind of like a "I should have seen it then, but...", or "I don't know what I could have done differently...". It's a very compelling way to read the story.

My Aunt Margaret asked me a few weeks ago if she should read "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett or "Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Sanders next. I loved them both, but for very different reasons. "Daisy Jones" reminds me very much of the style used in "Lincoln in the Bardo". And, while I loved the premise and storytelling of it, it was definitely the writing style that hooked me and reeled me in.

Just like an epistolary format is a different format that, to me, offers a different reading experience. If it is a journal entry, I like to see the amount of time between the entries. If it's correspondence, I like to feel the emotion through the tone of the author of the letter. As with "Where'd You Go, Bernadette", there are news articles, emails, notes scribbled on a notepad, and newsletters. It really is a brilliant way to weave differences throughout a book. The author is not limited to a single narrator, location, event, or perspective. The fact that there are a number of narrators relying on their memories of shared events makes for a litany of unreliable narrators, which adds so much more richness to the reading experience.

We are all very different, and to present a linear story is really not the way life works. I think that's what compels me so about these books, written in (more or less) the style of life. Just as each reader is different, this seems to be my favorite style to read, blending many disparate voices into one story, based on the interpretation of the person holding the book.


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