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Riley Keough in Daisy Jones and the Six
Riley Keough in Daisy Jones and the Six
Lacey Terrell/Prime Video
Culture > Entertainment

I Finally Watched Daisy Jones and The Six: Is the Series Better Than the Book?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

Daisy Jones and The Six is a popular novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid that depicts the rise and fall of a fictional rock and roll band in the 1970s. The book was released in 2019, but I decided to read it over this past summer after I heard everyone’s praise of the TV adaptation of the novel that came out in March of this year.

However, as much as I ended up loving the book, I was hesitant to start the series, as I didn’t know what changes would be made for the screen adaptation. I finished the series a couple of months ago now and here are my thoughts on the book vs. show debate.

To start with the obvious, Riley Keough’s Daisy Jones was absolutely perfect. Keough’s performance perfectly encapsulates Daisy’s free-spirited, confident personality and it is nearly impossible to look away from her whenever she is on screen. However, Keough also manages to show the audience the side of Daisy that she aims to bury with her drug use; the side of Daisy that is lonely and heartbroken and just wants to form connections with other people. Daisy’s songwriting is her only method of reaching out to those around her, and even though her surface-level personality is someone who can handle anything, Keough also manages to let the audience know that Daisy is struggling with more than she lets on, reminding us why Daisy is such a relatable and sympathetic character.

Keough’s incredible voice also contributes heavily to one of my other favorite aspects of the show: the music. Even though pretty much every song on Aurora, the band’s one and only album, experienced a title change or a lyric rewrite, the music just worked. There were certain book lyrics I wished made the cut, but each song still managed to be an accurate reflection of where the characters were emotionally at that point in the show. Plus, The River and More Fun to Miss are so fitting for the band’s vibe that the title changes don’t even bug me that much. 

Finally, my favorite change the show made was ironically one of the biggest diversions from the book, and that is giving Simone Jackson, disco singer and Daisy’s best friend, more of a unique story outside of Daisy. The show introduces an entirely new plot line for Simone where she moves to New York to pursue a romantic relationship with a woman she met named Bernie after her career hits a roadblock in Los Angeles. Simone’s struggle with finding confidence in her sound as a singer is beautifully paralleled with her struggle to find confidence in her sexuality and her first relationship with a woman. This story playing out against the backdrop of the free and accepting seventies New York disco scene was the perfect way to enhance a character who, despite playing a major role in Daisy’s life, doesn’t have much of a backstory in the book. Simone and Bernie’s relationship was exactly what the show needed and is for sure one aspect of the show that is superior to the book. 

Now for some parts of the show that strayed from the book that I wasn’t as much of a fan of. At first, I disliked Billy Dunne in both the show and book equally, in both mediums he was a whiny child who feigned being humble and laid back when in reality he was insensitive and controlling, but the more I watched, the more I realized I might dislike him in the show more. In the book, Billy and Daisy never kiss, and the one time Daisy tries to kiss him he pulls away. In the book, Billy has way more loyalty to Camila Alvarez-Dunne, his wife and the mother of his child. Although Billy’s feelings for Daisy were present, they were much more subtle and suppressed than they were in the show, making the tension between him and Daisy that much more intense because he would not admit to them explicitly. Their romance in the book was supposed to be resisted and denied and not actually acted upon, having them kiss multiple times throughout the show takes away that element of tragedy and does a lot of unnecessary damage to Billy’s character. 

Also, while we’re talking about character assassination, Camila’s character changed drastically in the screen adaptation. Camila in the show lacked so much of her strength and grace and overall had different values than she did in the book. In the book, Camila and Daisy only met once or twice and they definitely were not close. However, Camila was the only person who could convince Daisy to leave the band and finally get herself to rehab, not because they were friends, but because Camila believed in second chances and wanted to give Daisy that same second chance she gave Billy when he went to rehab. In the book, Camila is able to sit down and have a conversation with the woman who is in love with her husband and still tells her that she is rooting for her.

That strength and maturity is what made Camila’s character in the book so compelling, that she put aside any personal gripes she might have with Daisy for the greater good of the band. Camila looked at Daisy and didn’t see a home wrecker, but a lost, broken woman who just needed someone to believe in her. Camila didn’t owe Daisy any gentleness, and she did not hold back in her honesty that Daisy was a mess and needed to find the strength to discover who she is without the band. Daisy needed to hear that Camila had faith in her despite the threat she was to their marriage. Daisy believed she could change because even the last person she expected believed she could. In the series, Camila blames Daisy for her marital problems and pointlessly pursues a relationship with another band member out of spite.

My final issue with the TV adaptation would have to be with how they handled Teddy Price’s role. Teddy is the band’s producer and biggest supporter and he acted like the father Billy never really had. In the show, Teddy lives through the band’s run, but in the book, he dies suddenly of a heart attack during their tour. This is an insanely pivotal moment in the novel, as it signifies that Daisy Jones and the Six were entering the beginning of the end. Teddy was the anchor that kept them all from disbanding months ago. He forced Billy and Daisy to collaborate when they were too stubborn to relent, he stood by Billy through rehab, and he gave the band their big break when nobody else would. The group wouldn’t be where they got to without Teddy’s support and with the glue holding them together gone, it was clear that the band was no longer a healthy environment for anybody and they were forced to face the music. Teddy’s death was the first domino to fall that eventually caused everyone to realize how miserable they were and how much they needed a healthier environment. It was an emotional, essential moment in the band’s story, and they needed that kind of test of their strength to realize they weren’t stable enough to continue amicably working together and splitting up was the smartest option.

Overall, I’d say I still prefer the book, but each format has its strengths and weaknesses, and no matter if you decide to read, watch or do both, the story of Daisy Jones and the Six is well worth your time.

Olivia Weber

Kent State '27

Olivia Weber is a freshman at Kent State with a major in Journalism and a minor in Fashion Media. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh and has aspirations of writing for a fashion magazine after graduation. In her free time she can be found journaling, reading, watching her favorite shows/movies, or spending time with her friends and her cat, Dixie.