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Just Kids

by Patti Smith

Other authors: Robert Mapplethorpe (Photographer)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,5412091,938 (4.15)324
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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» See also 324 mentions

English (201)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 201 (next | show all)
Like several of the other reviewers I have read, Patti Smith has never been a big influence on me. I came of age around the time her career as a musician was becoming established. While I was a huge fan of many of her contemporaries and even some of her friends (Jim Carroll, Todd Rundgren, etc.), I was not a fan of her music. I found it too harsh. But I never took the time to listen to the lyrics. I thought she was just a rebel, pushing the envelope and that people liked her because of her "cool punk persona."

After reading this book, I do not think it was an artificial persona at all. In fact, I found Smith a captivating personality with a deep tender streak. I had not realized how obsessed she was with good literature and art.

The writing is captivating. Her devotion to Robert Maplethorpe was sweet. I think she does a great job of helping the reader understand the depth and beauty of a human being that many find so controversial. She turns Maplethorpe's life into a work of art. She doesn't hide the sometimes ugly side of their relationship and she does not romanticize the environment they developed in. Of course, it was fascinating to read about the people she met, like Jimi Hendrix and Janice Joplin, but more interesting to me was seeing how two young people developed from budding artists to huge influences.

It had me crying at the end. And yes, I am now a Patti Smith fan. ( )
  Library_Lin | Oct 4, 2021 |
This book is devastating. It is a tale of a deep friendship, so raw and powerful that I couldn't help but feel envious of Smith for it. She also narrates in such an open, revealing tone, so pared down and disciplined in its beauty, that I truly felt like I was part of her world.

And what a world it is. Just Kids can read like a high-class, late-60s version of People Magazine at times; Smith namedrops like it’s raining cats and dogs. I’d say this book felt like a guilty pleasure at times because of it – I learned so much about how now-celebrated figures like Andy Warhol, Jim Morrison, etc. were perceived in their time. (Not that much different.) I was extremely envious of Patti Smith for having direct access to all of those individuals, too.

This memoir also explores the themes that interest me most: New York City, LGBT, writing and music and growing up. I felt like Smith could’ve done more with some of those – truly grappled with them in her writing. Instead of listing some famous randos she’d interacted with at a café or cataloguing what she wore to this or that showing, she should’ve delved deeper into the characters in her life. (Sort-of spoiler alert ahead…) What was Robert’s coming out like to her – why did she not feel angry, deceived? I felt like it was a turning point in the novel, one of several, that she could’ve been explored more.

I'm realizing that I was most interested in her relationship with Robert. As a character, he fascinated me. The beginning of their relationship was so beautiful and naive and their passion for art so exhilarating . . . I'm really sort of satisfied with how these artists went about their way, and really sad that New York looks so different today.

( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
Another reviewer described this book as easy to parody, but that you wouldn't want to because it's so sincere. That sums it up for me. Patti Smith is unapologetic about her passion for art and poetry, and the way it has infused her whole life. Her story about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe is touching, elegiac and endlessly kind, even at times where bitterness would be justified. She has a knack for clearing away the unnecessary and getting to the heart of things. Sure, there's name-dropping, and repetition, and preciousness, and at least 99% too many references to Rimbaud, but the overriding sense is of complete sincerity and kindness, as well as some really beautiful, elegant yet warm writing. I understand what some people felt about her writing seeming to be at a remove, but I think it was necessary for her to write like that in order to tell the story fully. It can't be easy to not only write about your own life, but about a time and place that's gone. I would especially recommend the audiobook - Smith's warm, friendly yet stately voice is the perfect medium through which to enjoy the content. ( )
  Clare_L | Sep 20, 2021 |
Love Poem To A Bygone NYC

Patti Smith, latter-day beat poet turned punk rocker, and Robert Mapplethorpe, controversial photography artist, lived together in desperately poor but optimistic and exciting conditions in late 60s/early 70s New York City. This is Smith's tale of that period, meant to showcase her friend, lover and co-artist, Mapplethorpe, after his death at an early age.

The autobiography brilliantly captures the feel of the City at that time, and the electricity of the artist community surrounding Andy Warhol and others that were then taking America in new directions. No doubt, the recounting softens many recollections and avoids discussion of darker themes and events. But that's alright. The story is a charming recollection of the early, bright days of the generation born at Woodstock. I wish we still had that enthusiasm and energy. ( )
  TH_Shunk | Jul 6, 2021 |
Goodreads tells me this is the fourth time I've read this, though this is the first time I've read the illustrated edition and the first time I've listened to it on audio as I followed along. I just can't get over how much of an ode it is to art; how inspiring and exhilarating it feels to read it; how incredulous so many of its anecdotes are. It is beautiful to watch Patti and Robert grow into artists, each in their own right, and how they uplifted and challenged each other over the years. It is the most romantic book I know, and I am always in tears by the end. I am covetous of this new hardcover edition. The size, the heft, the navy cloth binding, and additional photos able to take up more space and on heavy paper. The audio includes a few additional poems and varies only slightly from the text.

Certainly, I would name this as one of my all-time favorite books, and I really enjoy experiencing how my relationship to it, as with other re-reads, morphs over the years. I will say that I am becoming increasingly uneasy with the internalized misogyny, homophobia, white privilege, and glorification of colonialism that seems inherent with idealizing the white, male, Western European writers and artists. I get it--I was there in my late teens/early 20s and understand that provocative allure--but it is something I abandoned a while ago, and it makes it hard to stomach reading it in an account I love so dearly otherwise. I may wait a while longer to dip into an additional re-read, thought I am sure this is a book I will continue read throughout my life. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 201 (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 (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, Pattiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mapplethorpe, RobertPhotographersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rutten, KathleenTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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Book description
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

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