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Just kids by Patti Smith

Just kids (edition 2012)

by Patti Smith, Nele Hendrickx

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2,4871292,455 (4.14)230
Title:Just kids
Authors:Patti Smith
Other authors:Nele Hendrickx
Info:Breda De Geus 2012
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

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Just Kids by Patti Smith (Author)


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English (122)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
This year I decided to expand my reading habits to include types of literature that I may otherwise ignore. Because of this, I have been making efforts to read biographies and memoirs, along with essays, poetry, and other non-fiction works. This book has been a part of this effort.

Before I read this, I knew next to nothing about Patti Smith. I’ve heard the name and knew vaguely that she was involved in music and poetry, but I wouldn’t have been able to identify any of her songs. I didn’t know who Robert Mapplethorpe was either. But after reading this great book, I have great respect and understanding for both of them. They experienced and suffered a lot, but through the course of their friendship they ended up sharing a beautiful life. Their relationship is so loving and sweet.

If you are looking for a good memoir, then I recommend this book highly. There is something fascinating about reading things you know that you will never experience. And their experiences are worth knowing about. ( )
  sighedtosleep | Sep 1, 2014 |
Very good. I think it dragged somewhat for the first third or half, then picked up steam and interest as the two became involved in the New York art and music scene. Smith paints a tender and affecting portrait of Mapplethorpe, which lovingly illuminates his personality and his journey, both of which are sweeter and more poignant than I would have expected from just seeing the art.

I do agree with the reviewer above who says the book seems more about Mapplethorpe and less about Smith. She is protective of both of them, but particularly herself. I would have loved to read more about her journey from a self-taught poet to celebrated punk musician, but that seems to happen as if in ellipses. That's a quibble, though, and no doubt unfair -- you take what the author or artist gives you and enjoy it for what it is. This is lovely. ( )
  Laura400 | Jul 7, 2014 |
I've been a Patti Smith fan for many, many years, and have loved - and been challenged by - Mapplethorpe's work for nearly as long. This beautifully written memoir is a profoundly moving book about both artists. It is a coming-of-age story, a time capsule, and a remarkable reflection on creativity and interconnectedness. It captures time and place eloquently. Her words and drawings, his artwork, and a few photos by others. It renewed my respect and admiration for its author and the many people she talks about in her straightforward, poetic, sensitive voice. I don't often finish a book thinking "now I can read it again!" ( )
  Fogcityite | Jun 19, 2014 |
I had a hard time at first getting into this book. Although Patti Smith is of my generation (born Dec. 30,1946) I don't remember knowing about her or listening to her music. This is probably due to the fact that she was at first (late 60s, early 70s) localized in the New York City of the Hotel Chelsea (also St. Mark's Poetry Project, the back room at Max's, etc.). In the late seventies & eighties, she became a primary figure in the punk rock scene. I was never into punk and, in fact, lost interest in rock music in general in the early 70s. I pretty much stop at Hendrix, Joplin, John Lennon & Yoko Ono. I couldn't handle the volume and cacophony. It seemed to me oppressive rather than seductive or liberating. I moved on to jazz. So, divergent paths. Somewhere midway through the book, I became more engrossed in the story of these 2 fringe, then iconic artists: their intense relationship, their multiple talents. Patti Smith seems to have done (& to do) something in every genre: visual arts (her drawings), literature (poetry, memoir, she's now working on a novel), performance art (theater-she did a play with Sam Shepard, early spoken word-poetry with music) & music. Robert Mapplethorpe too was various in his art, always exploring, always pushing the edge. He settled into photography, for which he became famous & notorious (due to his explicit photos & male nudes). It is the intensity of both their friendship & their passion for their art that finally won me over, irrespective of how I might or might not relate to the music or photographs themselves. Patti Smith's poetry on the page reads well, in fact. She was influenced early on by the French Symbolists, particularly Rimbaud & even made a trip to his hometown of Charleville & to his grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. I couldn't help musing about the death toll of those years from drugs & then AIDs. In the late 80s, Robert Mapplethorpe was one among many artists, writers, actors etc. who died in the early years of that epidemic. The drug regimen that has since made AIDS a chronic rather than a fatal disease for many arrived too late for them. I can't help but think that this fact must have sometimes haunted Patti Smith as she wrote about her loved ones lost.
( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Patti Smith's memoir is poetically written. Her tender portrait of her lover-turned-friend Robert Mapplethorpe takes the reader through the blossoming of two artists, set in New York City during the 1960s and 1970s. Wonderful snapshots of the city and cameos of famous artists and authors bring this story to life. Highly recommended. ( )
  Bradley_Kramer | May 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 122 (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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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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