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by Patti Smith
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I don't often read rock star bios or memoirs and when I do it's usually disappointing. This is much better than average.
This is a beautiful book, a lovingly told story about a best friend, soulmate, someone who is your other half. Simply told but written with deep insight, this book is as much about Patti figuring out what Robert was to her, deciphering their relationship through the analysis of memories.
As for the book, the background of the Chelsea Hotel and New York is as much a character as any human. Before this, I knew that Chelsea Hotel was the catalyst for so much music and art in the late 70's, early 80's, but I didn't realize just how important it was, it seemed every important artist had a connection there, even if it was just a few weeks.
As for the author - she writes with a very grateful, humble voice. Its clear she is an introvert who needs someone to tell her that what she is doing is good. I'd be interested in what her friends think about her because from what she says in this book, most of her success comes from her friends who saw something and encouraged it.
This was a joy to read. The ending is bitter sweet and this book was written to fill a void left by Robert's passing, managing to both be respectful, but not shy away from the bad. I highly recommend reading this.
Superficial autobiographic story of Patti Smith and Robert Maplethorpe. Most interesting to me was their life for art -- often hunger, doing marginal crimes to eat. They seemed to care for each other until the end. See drops many names which provides a sense of living on the avant-garde edge in the late sixties and early seventies but to an outsider there's nothing that explains their movement.
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.
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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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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)782.42166092 — The arts Music Vocal music Secular Forms of vocal music Secular songs General principles and musical forms Song genres Rock songs History, geographic treatment, biography Biography
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Her book is part memoir and part autobiography and it details her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. A relationship that evolves from friends to lovers to friends to almost like family. Their bond is unusual and deep and moving.
What I loved about this book is how it illuminates the life of an artist. Honestly, it is beyond hard for me to relate to living like Smith and Mapplethorpe did in pursuit of art. I can't imagine the drive. They really struggled financially and had to use every bit of creativity they had just to survive. I would have gotten a regular 9-5 job in the first ten minutes of their story.
Another strength of the book is how well Patti portrays their relationship. I ended up falling a little bit in love with Robert myself, and the book does a great job of evoking the chemistry between them.
The only part of the book that fell short for me was the litany of name dropping. This part might be the highlight for people who grew up in the time period and who have had an interest in art, poetry, and rock and roll. For me, the parts that introduced the many famous artists and musicians of the time (Joplin, Warhol, and many other renowned people in the arts) were just not that engaging. I had to keep looking up each name to figure out what they did, and the anecdotes weren't terribly interesting to me. Unlike Patti and Robert . . .their story was gripping and told with a wonderful tenderness.
A four star book with many five star sections! ( )