- “Just Kids” by Patti Smith
- Read as a paperback
- 5/5 stars
- Finished May 24, 2017
In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work–from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.
I would have never picked up this book if it wasn’t for #AskALibrarian on Twitter. I’ve been struggling to find books that are about people my age, that aren’t focused solely on falling in love and getting married and are more focused on…living. This was one of the first ones recommended, and then was cosigned by a friend of mine, so I went straight for it.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. I didn’t know anything about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe, and yet I found myself completely and totally invested in their story. I cried through so much of this book, knowing from the first page that Robert died of AIDS. The way Smith weaves her words is something I’ve never experienced before. I felt like I was Smith, I was fully experiencing all of this as her and with her, and it was powerful.
This doesn’t read as a rock n’ roll memoir, but instead a glimpse at what life was like in New York City during the 60’s and 70’s, which I think is why I was able to enjoy it so much without being familiar with the work either of them did. It was more about their struggle to stay true to their art, and figure out what their love was. It’s actually really hard to find words about this book because it’s unlike something I’ve ever read before. I found so much of myself in these characters who were broke, living in a big city and just wanting to follow their passion. I would highly recommend this to any and all.
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