Book Review: Just Kids by Patti Smith

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320 pages

Published: January 19, 2010

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Synopsis:

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work–from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry

Patti Smith is a woman who took chances and her bohemian lifestyle is reflective of the risks she was willing to take. Her lyrical storytelling has the capability to draw readers into the world of 1960s New York City. By reading this, I was able to get a glimpse of how “the other half lives” in NYC. You always get this ideal picture when discussing New York, a perspective that still continues today. But after reading this, Smith gives a more realistic picture. I enjoyed reading about the memories of Book Row and how eclectic the art culture use to be in the city.


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Patti Smith is a woman who took chances and her bohemian lifestyle is reflective of the risks she was willing to take. Her lyrical storytelling has the capability to draw readers into the world of 1960s New York City. By reading this, I was able to get a glimpse of how “the other half-lives” in NYC. You always get this ideal picture when discussing New York, a perspective that still continues today. But after reading this, Smith gives a more realistic picture. I enjoyed reading about the memories of Book Row and how eclectic the art culture use to be in the city.

I was immediately drawn into a world full of the bohemian lifestlye. Not something that I could necessarily live with, however, I understood the allurement that it would give to a young girl trying to find herself. At the beginning of the memoir, you could not help but identify with the young Smith. Her stuggles with identity, the stress that had to deal with both her family and personal life…this where I felt the deepest connection with her story. However, that started to wear off when the memoir dived into detail abouth her relationship with Maplethorpe.

I understand that this was a book that highlighted the relationship between Smith and Robert Maplethorpe, however, I wish I would learn more about Smith, especially with her independent personality. Also, I didn’t care for the constant name dropping. I came here to read a story about Smith and Maplethorpe, not every person who managed to cross the path of the Hotel Chelsea. That part really dragged the memoir down. However, Smith’s interesting introspective and lyrical writing style was really the highlight of this book.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Get it At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBound| Your local library

This book was also the winner of the One Book, One New York campaign.

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