Daisy Jones Is a Strong Adaptation of the Book

by Gabi Admi ‘23

Daisy Jones & The Six started as a 2019 novel by best-selling author Taylor Jenkins-Reid. In that same year, Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, obtained the rights to bring the novel to life on the screen. Now streaming on Amazon Prime as a 10-episode series, the narrative is depicted in the form of a documentary in which the 1970s rock band Daisy Jones & The Six recount their memories of how the band formed and later tragically split. Riley Keogh stars as Daisy Jones, a reckless and free-spirited girl, and Sam Claflin stars as Billy Dunne, the uptight and controlling leader of the fictional band The Six. Both Daisy and Billy struggle with addiction and childhood trauma, which both simultaneously connect them and put a strain on their relationship. Reportedly, the fictional relationship between Daisy and Billy is loosely based on Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s romance as members of Fleetwood Mac.

Some aspects of the novel that were altered, added, and left behind in the adaptation. Nevertheless, the series manages to capture all of the complicated feelings the bandmates felt toward themselves and each other. Traditionally, books tend to be better than their on-screen adaptations, likely because the show or movie never quite matches how the reader envisioned the characters or settings in the book. And yet in this show, I personally was astounded at how well the show’s creators captured the vibe of the novel. I also love how the show performs the band’s songs and makes them impressive and enjoyable enough that they seem like real songs for an actual 1970s band.

While I loved the first six episodes, there were things I would do differently. Straight off the bat, the actor Claflin is noticeably older than his character in the book. I also had concerns regarding how they depicted Billy’s relationship with his wife, Camilla. The book focuses a lot on Camilla’s feelings toward Billy and their family and while they have issues, they seem to understand one another. In the series, however, there is a disconnect between them when it’s that sense of understanding that made their relationship so powerful in the book. I hope in the remaining four episodes, Camilla’s and Billy’s relationship is depicted with more complexity than thus far. In the book, the documentary takes place some 20 years after the band broke up, from 2012-2020. It’s never said in the series when the documentary takes place, but the actors in the series look like they have hardly aged when they should be in their 50s when they’re being interviewed. Lastly, the series is missing an entire band member: Pete. It’s understandable why they didn’t include Pete in the series because he didn’t have a big storyline. But, it still makes it confusing since the band is “The Six” and there are five members.

Despite these flaws, the first half of Daisy Jones & The Six is emotional and intense. It tells a story of heartbreak, addiction, and the importance of family. If you like complex relationships and 70s rock and roll, first read the novel and then watch the series of Daisy Jones & The Six.

Grade: B+