Cougar critique: “Daisy Jones and The Six”


Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of “Daisy Jones and The Six,” was not born or raised in California, yet she writes a large portion of her books set in the golden state. How accurate does she illustrate the state lifestyle? Graphic by: Ava Mohror

Ava Mohror

Popular novel and newly made TV series, “Daisy Jones and The Six,” portrays a Los Angeles band in the 1970s, but does it get the west coast life right?

“Daisy Jones and The Six,” a novel written by Taylor Jenkins Reid, was published on March 5, 2019. The miniseries based on the novel began its release nearly four years later on Amazon Prime Video on March 3. The show has 10 episodes, with a release of three a week, including the series finale, which came out on March 24. “Daisy Jones and The Six” was popularized on the “BookTok” side of TikTok, along with many of Jenkins Reid’s other novels, such as “Malibu Rising” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” 

The novel follows singer Daisy Jones and the band The Six as they work to make their names in the Los Angeles crowd, and eventually the world. This dream of theirs becomes a reality when they decide to join forces to become Daisy Jones and The Six. However, the glamorous life of fame is not what they had planned, and the members of the band have to deal with harsh topics, including alcoholism, addiction and adultery. 

Jenkins Reid was born in Maryland, moved to Massachusetts at 12, and stayed in Massachusetts for college as well. At 24, Jenkins Reid moved to Los Angeles and signed with her first literary agent. Because Jenkins Reid was born and raised on the east coast and didn’t move to Los Angeles until her mid-twenties, there is a question of how accurately her books describe the southern California lifestyle. 

An obvious factor must be taken into account for Jenkins Reid’s description of the Los Angeles lifestyle in her books. In both “Daisy Jones and The Six” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” though taking place in LA, they take place in the past, with “Daisy Jones and The Six” specifically taking place in the 70’s. This means that Los Angeles is already going to be very different in the 70’s compared to the current day.

The novel “Daisy Jones and The Six” has won several awards, including “Glass Bell Award for Fiction” and “The Glorious Heresies.” Photo by: Avery Palmieri

In the story, Jones is a teenager growing up in Los Angeles, with parents who couldn’t care less about her whereabouts. Jones moves out at a young age and is exposed to drugs and alcohol prematurely as well, leading to an addiction she struggles with throughout the entire book. Having already addressed that times were different in the 70’s, I do think that Jones’ upbringing is an extremely rare situation that almost no teenagers in southern California are dealing with today. 

Kaitlyn Seymour ‘24 said, “[‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ is an accurate representation of southern California life], but obviously that answer could be different depending on the person. I think during that time period there were definitely people whose life was similar to Daisy’s, Billy’s and the band’s, that kind of free spirit life, on-the-road type vibe. I feel like a lot of bands back then had that feel to them, especially in socal.”

Another staple of the California life that I noticed was missing is the fixation on the beach and surfing. In many books, movies and TV shows in which the writers are clearly unfamiliar with southern California, there is an overwhelming obsession with the beach, surfing and sentences filled with “Cali,” “dude” and “hang loose.” So, watching “Daisy Jones and The Six,” it was almost refreshing to not always be focused on the beach. I feel that a big reason this is the case is that The Six originally lived in Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to increase their chances of fame. This means that they did not grow up surfing and most likely only just started upon moving close to the beach. There is one surfing scene in the series, but even then, the band members are just learning how to surf. 

Bailey Burman ‘25 said, “The atmosphere felt a lot like LA, and I like how they included real aspects, like The Strip. The fact that it was not centered around the beach really set it apart, and I enjoyed reading it.” 

In the miniseries, most of the scenes were actually filmed in real locations in LA. The Sunset Strip, the Troubadour, Whiskey a Go Go and Studio City were all filmed in their actual locations in Los Angeles. This adds a lot to the accuracy of the show, as these locations are staple spots in LA.

The band name in the novel is Daisy Jones and The Six, featuring lead singers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne. Other band members include Karen Sirko, Graham Dunne, Eddie Roundtree and Warren Rojas. Graphic by: Ava Mohror

Casting for the series also remains true to the roots of a rock ‘n’ roll band of the 70’s. Jenkins Reid has shared that Jones and The Six are based loosely on the band Fleetwood Mac, who started in the late 60’s. The show features Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough as Jones and singer, actress and model Suki Waterhouse as Karen Sirko, The Six’s keyboardist. This casting and the fact that the show was filmed mostly in Los Angeles shows the accuracy that was purposefully thought out in the making of the series. 

Despite Jenkins Reid having grown up on the other side of the country, I think it is clear that she put in the effort to research and build a novel that accurately represents the Los Angeles lifestyle in the 70’s, and this effort is evident throughout the miniseries as well.