Memory and nostalgia

Daisy Jones & The Six is a novel written as an oral history about a band (The Six) from the 1970s that ends up collaborating with a singer (Daisy Jones). It’s a lovely story with women who are all strong and navigating a very male-dominated scene – rock n roll in the 1970s. The story and the characters are solid and rich and I enjoyed it.

I especially love the fact that it’s told as an oral history. Personally, the 1970s are a decade that it takes a certain amount of editing to make seem romantic in any way. I mean, the 1973 oil crisis, the 1979 oil crisis, the Iran hostage crisis (apparently everything was a crisis in the 1970s), the Nixon impeachment, the Me Generation… I was very young in the 1970s, but my general impression was always that they were a hot mess. Nostalgia for the 1970s has always felt very ironic to me.

But “nostalgia… is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts & recycling it for more than it’s worth.” Just like the song says.

An oral history might, in fact, have been the only way Daisy Jones and the Six works. You need that separation-through-time factor, as well as the fact that people’s memories are faulty to make a drug-fueled rise of a rock band seem appealing in what is otherwise a disaster of a decade. The distance is the way you remember only the good bits: the songs you love, your youth, your friends, what it was like to be riding a wave of success, falling in love, marriage, learning how to stand up for yourself, the birth of your first child…

And aren’t those the important things anyway? The oral history format allowed me to focus on those things and forget the general miasma that the 1970s always conjures for me.


Take power

I loved this book. Really and truly. Why? Because ultimately, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is about female power. It’s about how to stand up for yourself, and how to get what you want. Maybe it’s to get the hell out of the neighborhood you grew up in. Maybe it’s a career instead of a husband. Maybe it’s to be an editor instead of a writer. Maybe it’s to get out of a marriage. Maybe it’s a career when you’re being pushed aside because you’re getting “too old.” Maybe it’s the love of your life.

And it’s still relatively rare to find a book where a female main character exercises power and isn’t punished for it, where she doesn’t rely on someone else to help her or get it done for her. It’s alllll Evelyn Hugo.

I am here for it. Recommended.