“Daisy Jones and the Six” Nails the Book-to-Screen Adaptation


Kaelana Faessler

Daisy Jones and the Six is a great book for anyone who loves the aesthetic of the unfiltered, unhinged, 1970’s rock and roll lifestyle.

Kaelana Faessler

Book adaptations are some of the most loved — and most hated — products in the world of media. They are either a hit or miss, rarely ever falling in between. Hearing that your favorite book is being brought to life on-screen can be one of the most exciting things ever, but that excitement often turns to dread when you finally watch the highly anticipated show just to find out it is absolutely terrible. However, this all-too-common book adaptation horror will never cross your mind if you watch the Amazon Studios adaptation of “Daisy Jones and the Six.” 

“Daisy Jones and the Six” is a 2019 novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The book follows the story of the biggest fictional rock band of the 1970’s, Daisy Jones and the Six. In 2022, The Cardinal Chronicle reviewed Jenkins Reid’s book and held it in high esteem.

The show adaptation hits the mark on every aspect, starting with the casting. When Amazon Prime Video announced that the first episodes would be arriving to the streaming service on March 3, 2023, fans were eager to find out every single detail available. When the cast members playing the main characters of the novel were revealed, fans went wild. 

It was not surprising to learn that stubborn, headstrong Billy Dunne, the lead guitarist of The Six, would be played by actor Sam Claflin. Claflin has appeared in countless other book adaptations, such as “Me Before You,” “The Hunger Games” and “Love Rosie.” 

Just as he has done in his previous works, Claflin brought his character to life on-screen in a way no one else could. His portrayal of the complex, emotional turmoils Billy faces in the story is perfect, and he manages to make the morally-gray book character mostly likable. 

Opposite of Claflin, Riley Keough plays Billy’s bandmate Daisy Jones. Keough, the granddaughter of singer Elvis Presley, captures the fire of Daisy’s personality and the power of her singing voice. The chemistry Claflin and Keough create between Billy and Daisy is overflowing with passion, pain and rage. 

Also opposite Claflin is Camila Dunne, Billy’s wife. Dunne is played by actress Camila Morrone. As her character is a favorite among book fans, there were high expectations for her portrayal on screen, all of which Morrone exceeded. Her powerful performance is nothing short of phenomenal, and she perfectly embodies the characteristics of the strong, assertive woman she plays. Despite the common trope of the “passive wife,” the book character, and Morrone’s portrayal of her, give representation to a better trope of powerful women who stand up for themselves. 

Along with the perfect casting, the build up to the show’s release date left readers excited and hyped for the upcoming adaptation. Prior to the airing of the first episode, “Daisy Jones and the Six” social media pages announced the release of the album “Aurora” on all music platforms. Though the lyrics in the songs are not the exact same as those featured in the book, the music is enjoyable, and it is exciting to see it come to life off of the page.

Not only that, but all of the actors that portray the characters in the band learned their corresponding instruments and played the songs for the show and the album. Their 1970’s inspired music became quickly adored by the “Daisy Jones and the Six” fandom, who developed favorites like “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb).” 

As March 3, the release date of the show, finally arrived, fans eagerly logged onto Prime Video to watch. They were not disappointed. From the first few seconds of the first episode, titled “Come and Get It,” the cinematography, outfits and overall vibe of the entire series perfectly encapsulates the aesthetic of the novel. 

Even in the beginning title sequence, you can feel the dark and grungy 1970’s vibes radiating off of the screen. This is also reflected in the clothes characters appear in: jumpsuits, halter tops and big flowy dresses. 

The show itself follows much of the main storyline of the book; only a few things are missing from the book’s plot. The entire story of the book is very condensed in order to fit the main parts into only ten hour-long episodes, but these major differences do not affect the plot much.

Seeing major differences between a book and its film adaptation can be frustrating and hard to watch, but with “Daisy Jones and the Six” this is not an issue. As the book is written in the form of interviews with members of the band and those close to them, the reader cannot help but wonder if all of them are telling the truth. Adapting the book’s unreliable narrator trope on screen gives readers a chance to see the actual, objective truth of what happened, which can be shocking at times.

Prime Video’s adaptation of this book also does a great job of highlighting the storylines of minor characters that often go ignored, one of these being a fan-favorite relationship between band members Karen Sirko and Graham Dunne. This is my personal favorite storyline in the book, and the show did an incredible job bringing their story to the screen. 

While this show is arguably one of the best book adaptations in the last decade, that does not mean it is without faults, even if they are minor. The only issue that I had with the show involves a monologue near the end of the book. This monologue, spoken by Billy, is a big turning point in the book. However, in the show only the first half of it is included. This is something I disliked about the show as the second part of the monologue is essential to revealing Billy’s true motives and personality, and it is one of my favorite parts of the book. 

Despite the partial omission of Billy’s monologue, “Daisy Jones and the Six” has quickly become one of my favorite shows. Jenkins Reid and the other producers have created a great adaptation of an amazing book. It is something that anybody should watch regardless of whether they have read the book or not.

If you love the 1970’s, music stories and angst, then “Daisy Jones and the Six” is the perfect binge-watch for you.