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Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids (edition 2010)

by Patti Smith

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English (143)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
When people have romantic notions of NYC, quite often they're thinking of the city in the 1960's and 1970's. This is the world brought to life in Patti Smith's memoir JUST KIDS. She takes the reader through Brooklyn and the East Village, into the apartments, clubs, cafes, and bookshops of the day. We have lunch with Alan Ginsberg, attend movie showings at Andy Warhol's factory, chat with Jimi Hendrix, and stock shelves at The Strand bookshop. After reading this book, I felt as though I could close my eyes and see this world and experience its sounds and smells.

But this is not a memoir about New York; it's focus is on the relationship between the author and the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Finding each other haphazardly, they shared apartments, studio space, and their souls with each other. The reader follows along on their paths of discovering their artistic callings and themselves as humans in the modern world. There are creative highs and lows - many examples of the "starving artist" are found in these pages - but together they weathered them all. Their deep friendship outlasted their romantic relationship and they kept in contact up until Mapplethorpe's death from AIDS in the late 1980's.

While the memoir is incredibly heartfelt and moving, the way that Patti Smith chose to transcribe it is what makes it truly memorable. Each sentence has a power and emotion behind it, so that the writing is not only powerful but powerfully poetic. You share in the tragedies and triumphs, and really feel their world. ( )
  BooksForYears | Jul 16, 2016 |
Just a little bit too much pointless namedropping, though. ( )
  nog | May 7, 2016 |
One of my favourite books. This book deeply inspired me and continues to do so in difficult times. I was delaying finishing it, as I enjoyed the journey. ( )
  Greekdub | Apr 30, 2016 |
I have to admit, I knew very little about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe prior to reading "Just Kids". I'm so glad that my ignorance didn't stop me from picking this memoir about Patti's relationship with Robert, and the story of their lives together. Patti and Robert were in their late teen years when they first ran into each other in New York City. Drawn together by their shared need to create, Patti and Robert began their relationship with almost nothing, barely getting by without money to even eat consistently. Patti eventually found work in bookstores and reviewing records for magazines and Robert picked up odd jobs or occasionally by hustling for sex with men on 42nd street to bring in extra income. Patti dreamed of becoming a famous poet and Robert was a mixed media artist, without any connections to sell his work.Life began to change for the couple, who were primarily roommates and best friends, after they moved into the famous and historic Hotel Chelsea, where emerging rock stars, artists, and writers of all types lived in the 1960's and 70's. Having grown up in a conservative Catholic family, Robert struggled to understand his homosexuality and began exploring his conflicts through his art and relationships with men. Patti began to have other relationships as well, mostly shortlived but supportive, as both she and Robert began to cultivate small successes in the art world. Robert was particularly drawn to the work of Andy Warhol and he coerced Patti to come with him to hang out in the places those in Warhol's inner circles were known to frequent. As both began to achieve real success, Patti met the man who would become her husband and Robert drew close to his partner and each went their own way. Within a few years, however, Robert contracted AIDS, which eventually lead to his untimely death at the age of 42.

Patti's memoir of their lives together is an interesting and emotionally evocative story of two young kids without anything but a love for art and music, who cultivated creativity and success in the other. I really enjoyed reading about their lives and I was particularly drawn to Patti's descriptions of Robert, as she described him as a haunted but passionate soul, consumed with exploring and exposing the forbidden in society. An excellent and very well written account of love, art, and the NYC art scene in the 60's & 70's. ( )
1 vote voracious | Apr 3, 2016 |
Let me get a few confessions out of the way: (1) I've never been very interested in Patti Smith; I'm not sure I would recognize a song of hers playing on a jukebox. (2) I wasn't really sure who Robert Mapplethorpe was either; I had a vague idea that he had taken the picture of Patti on the cover of her Horses album (he did, and no, I can't name any of her other albums). (3) I hated the movie Factory Girl, and read an autobiography of Ultra Violet that left me cold, although the image of her performing a certain act in cars on her way to appearances because she thought it gave her skin a particular "glow" is indelibly burned in my brain.

In short... this isn't really my cast of characters or my favorite historical backdrop. So the fact that I picked up this book at all is somewhat miraculous (thanks, Book Club, for forcing me to step outside my comfort zone once in awhile). And (drumroll) I liked it FAR, far more than I would ever have predicted.

Patti has an honest, almost chatty tone, but her descriptions are unexpectedly poignant. There are, from a plot-development standpoint, some pretty extraneous details, but I think they do add depth to the ambiance of the story. I like her as a narrator, and I'm grateful I took the time to hear her.

In a way, this reminded me a bit of [b:The Glass Castle|7445|The Glass Castle|Jeannette Walls|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1165613865s/7445.jpg|2944133], one of my favorite books in recent memory. There's the same completely foreign but nonfictional life, with a narrator that I nonetheless sympathize with, and outlandish incidents that are still accessibly and believably portrayed. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (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, Pattiprimary 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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Haiku summary
Mapplethorpe and she
Meet in their pre-famous days
And forge lasting bonds
Starts broke in New York
Becomes "Mother of Punk". She's
Now music legend

No descriptions found.

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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)

(summary from another edition)

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