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Just Kids by Patti Smith
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Just Kids (edition 2010)

by Patti Smith

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English (129)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
I didn’t know much about either Patti Smith or Robert Maplethorpe except the sort of murky rumors that always surround celebrity, and most of that tawdry. I did know, first hand, the sixties, and that time has always captivated me. As much as I try to stay away from celebrity bios, I just kept hearing praise and more praise for this book, and I finally succumbed and read it.

I’m happy to say that Patti Smith is a good writer, and I’m happy to tell you that this is a story filled with all the details of the sixties that will take you right back to that place and time. It’s not a particularly cheery story; Patti and Robert subsisted on little for a long time and many of the tawdry rumors were genuine. But their story offers hope to all the wanna-be artists in the world. Neither Patti nor Robert had much in the way of a formal education in art. Instead, they were immersed in art and artists, and that finally helped them become the groundbreakers they eventually became. ( )
  debnance | May 10, 2015 |
I loved this book. It's surprising how soothing this book is, given Smith's electric performances and material, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the New York music/underground scene of the seventies. ( )
  orangetwin | Apr 5, 2015 |
this was a very powerful story of two friends and artist. the time that patti and robert shared was amazing. it is a story of friendship and art. the struggle to be true to your art and to yourself ( )
1 vote michaelbartley | Mar 28, 2015 |
It can be more eloquent to let five stars stand alone (especially when you don't often use it. And I'd like to be able to do that and to write this handful of personal notes, because Just Kids is an awful lot more than this. People, a time, a scene, creative process, great writing. (Perhaps it could use more humour but it's also good enough and itself enough that that doesn't matter.)

But in reading Patti Smith's account of her young self, it's like I found someone the same gender as I am - so many of the same ways of feeling male and female and in between at different times and in different situations, but if bodily experience makes her particularly aware of femaleness for a while, she mans up (as it were) and deals with it without finding it as alienating as one might suppose. I connect with her ways of seeing and feeling as I just don't with recent blogs etc on queerness.
(Thing I feel the need to say in case I make a handful of friends uncomfortable. Difference re. her relationship with Mapplethorpe: I seem to have some kind of very sharp gaydar as I've never - not since a vague preteen liking for Matthew Parris on breakfast TV - fancied a man who was gay or significantly so; just 100% straight men whom yobs, and some gay men, assume are gay; they say they felt it would have suited them to be gay, and they sometimes slightly regret not being so. Whilst I am a terrible fag hag for certain subcultures of C20th gay male taste.)
The other thing is about how much luck she has and the way she grabs it and it keeps on giving. I had a very powerful epiphany that this (albeit with different occupations) is how my life would have been if I'd been healthy. Ever since I left home I've had a lot of pretty amazing ladders appear in front of me. But unlike her, also not a few snakes, 99% of those related to the one health problem (so maybe one big, twisty snake). ( )
  antonomasia | Mar 8, 2015 |
The first 2/3rds of this is wonderful. It really is inspiring to see the relationship between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, which at times is so close they were practically under each other's skin. Sadly, the book loses energy as they grow apart. I suspect that Smith tried to keep the focus on their relationship to keep the book manageable, but as a result once that relationship wanes she runs out of things to say. Regardless, I did enjoy it. The time spent in the Hotel Chelsea alone is worth the reading time. ( )
  CherieDooryard | Jan 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
The reader knows who Smith and Mapplethorpe will become, so it is intriguing to read about his continued attempts to encourage her to become a musician, while she urges him to delve into photography.
 
“Just Kids” is the most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and early ’70s that any alumnus has committed to print. The tone is at once flinty and hilarious, which figures: she’s always been both tough and funny, two real saving graces in an artist this prone to excess. What’s sure to make her account a cornucopia for cultural historians, however, is that the atmosphere, personalities and mores of the time are so astutely observed.
 
It’s possible to come away from “Just Kids” with an intact image of the title’s childlike kindred spirits who listened to Tim Hardin’s delicate love songs, wondered if they could afford the extra 10 cents for chocolate milk and treasured each geode, tambourine or silver skull they shared, never wanting what they couldn’t have or unduly caring what the future might bring. If it sometimes sounds like a fairy tale, it also conveys a heartbreakingly clear idea of why Ms. Smith is entitled to tell one.
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, PattiAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mapplethorpe, RobertPhotographersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Speaker, Mary AustinDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Much has been said about Robert, and more will be added. Young men will adopt his gait. Young girls will wear white dresses and mourn his curls. He will be condemned and adored. His excesses damned or romanticized. In the end, truth will be found in his work, the corporeal body of the artist. It will not fall away. Man cannot judge it. For art sings of God, and ultimately belongs to him.
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I was asleep when he died.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius.… (more)

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