Towards the end of last year, my lovely colleague D recommended the book Daisy Jones & The Six (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which I devoured in a couple of evenings. It is a fun and easy-to-read story of a fictional rock band that reached the top of the charts and stardom in the 1970s. But after one sold-out show in Chicago, the band suddenly breaks up. Now, a few decades later, its members finally reveal how the band came to be and why it dissolved so unexpectedly despite worldwide success. The book is written as interview transcriptions. A mysterious author collects members’ memories full of nostalgia, beautiful, talented people, drugs, sex, complicated band dynamics and romance. Thanks to this, it has a very cinematic feel, especially if you listen to an audio version. So it doesn’t surprise me that a miniseries has been commissioned and will launch on Amazon Prime in March this year (2023). When I listened to it, it was hard not to think of Fleetwood Mac and A Star Is Born (the Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson 1976 version) as references. And one can only hope the adaptation will deliver both visually and musically.
Still flying high after finishing Daisy Jones, I immediately checked Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bibliography, looking for another pageturner. Hoping for a joyful read, I chose her most popular and best-rated novel (on Goodreads). Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (⭐️⭐️⭐️) explores the author’s fascination with the rich, famous, and beautiful. This time, inexperienced journalist Monique Grant enters the life of Old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo for some mysterious reason to interview her. Hugo wants her to write her biography and publish it after her death. Evelyn pours out her heart and tells Monique her life story, soon revealing her biggest secret of all. It turns out her turbulent life was just a cover for her romantic relationship with a woman. It made me think of Elizabeth Taylor and if her seven husbands served the same purpose. As much as I liked the book’s premise, the story somehow felt flat. It had the potential to be a beautiful, forbidden love romance. Instead, the author focused on lavish lifestyles, enormous successes full of dramatic reveals and shocking declarations, forgetting to create genuine characters I could care about.
A League of Their Own (⭐️⭐️⭐️) s as far from the luxurious Hollywood of the 1950s and 60s as it can be. Still, it touches on similar themes of forbidden love, race and same-sex relationships. This comedy series is loosely based on the 1992 classic film with Tom Hanks, Madonna and Geena Davis about the US All-American professional women’s baseball league during the Second World War. We follow the Rockford Peaches team members as they become professional baseball players and, for the first time, enjoy the game, money, and fame, which, before the war, was reserved only for men. I always wonder why reboots are produced. They rarely bring anything new to the audience. But A League of Their League seems different, and the attempt to make the story more nuanced and relevant to the audiences thirty years later works. It offers beautiful stories of female friendships and love affairs, but it lacks at least a few good jokes that made the 1992 movie a classic.