Books wrapped

By Milly Sutcliffe

Having appeared on many a TikTok ‘For You’ page, Dr Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller (M.A.)’s Attached may be discarded under the category of “pop-psychology”, but I found this to be an unfair reason for dismissal. You may utilise its tools to help you in your love life, being tempted by the tagline “How the Science of adult attachment can help you find – and keep – love”. You may take the attachment style quiz to have fun with your friends or partner in finding out which attachment style most resonates with you: ‘are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure?’. Or you may (as I did) find yourself approaching the read with the latter attitude but quickly drifting to the former as you go.

First published in 2010 and now a revised edition in 2019, the book progresses from explaining your own attachment style via a simple quiz to delving deeper into what this can mean for someone in their everyday life. It offers tips for using your attachment style to your advantage and encourages a sense of self-acceptance in its reader. I particularly enjoyed reading the case studies, by which I found myself both entertained and even slightly called out. The humorous tone with which each individual’s story is related draws you in to exploring the charming quirks of human behaviour, especially when it comes to romance. And, after every story to which you find yourself connecting, comfort is offered in the promise that “anyone can have a happy ending like that. It’s not entirely up to chance.” 

Comfort is offered in the promise that ‘anyone can have a happy ending like that.’

Is it a coincidence that I read this book about a week before starting a relationship with my ideal (apparently secure-attachment-styled) partner? Possibly. However, I would also recommend this book purely for pleasure. Never fear if, like me, you are not thoroughly educated in psychology: the authors tread the line between informative and accessible with ease. So, whether you’ve just experienced a nasty heartbreak, or you’re in the most stable relationship of your life, there is something for everyone in this book.

Steering away from the self-help genre, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six was to me a beacon of sun-drenched excitement during a bout of illness. I paid no mind to what I was missing out on in the real world; published in 2019, Reid transports her reader back to the thrilling world of 1970s L.A. when rock and roll was first at its peak. A tragic love story set in the chaos of the California party scene, Daisy Jones & The Six tells the tale of aspiring popstar Daisy and her often challenging collaboration with the rock band, ‘The Six’.

Said to be inspired by the collaboration between Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, the story details an alliance which leads to wealth and notoriety, but Reid never fails to warn her audience of the cost of such prizes. Reid’s other notable novels, such as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Malibu Rising, present a recurring theme of the dark side of fame and the toll that their pursuit takes on a character. The public image of Daisy Jones in comparison to her struggles behind the scenes strikes a chord with consumers of modern celebrity culture and implores that we interrogate our own ideas of perfection and idolisation.

Written in the style of a documentary interview, Daisy Jones & the Six captures the mood of golden age thinking by having the members of the band reflect retrospectively on their time together in direct conversational speech. This provides insight into each character’s struggles, differing priorities and disagreements with other members, and cleverly conveys that their differences are the key to both the band’s success and its downfall.

The public image of Daisy Jones in comparison to her struggles behind the scenes strikes a chord with consumers of modern celebrity culture

Reid’s descriptions of Billy and Daisy’s agonising songwriting process provide a comment on the strength required to expose one’s innermost emotions to others, which Reid as an author must also experience. But the songs that are born from such a feat provide a unique experience in which their writers draw back the curtain to reveal the true context of their words; while Billy sings of his insecurity that he cannot be the man that his loved ones deserve, Daisy sings of her longing for a love that can never be. All the while, Billy encourages Daisy to let go of her attempts at perfection and sing with honest emotion until the songs are ‘a little ugly’, which shrewdly encompasses her entire way of life. Daisy lives striving for constant perfection because she fears that others will reject her if they see her for who she truly is. What she comes to realise throughout her journey with Billy is that she will have a more meaningful life if she allows those around her to see her flaws and trauma. 

Having read other of Reid’s novels, I was not at all surprised to find myself utterly enthralled by the band’s story. I would highly recommend this book as it is an entertaining summer read but also a startling reminder that beauty, popularity, and riches are fleeting and cannot offer the contentment which comes with genuine human connection and a passion for your life’s work.

Image Credit: Abhi Sharma via Wikimedia Commons

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