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Just Kids [Paperback]

Patti Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Jan 2011
A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists--Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe - whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.

In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max's Kansas City, Scribner's Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol's Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years--the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks; First Paperback Edition edition (4 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747568766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747568766
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The most beautiful, incredible autobiography - it will make you ache for a time and a place that you probably never knew, New York in the 1970s' (Nick Hornby)

'A sharp, elegiac and finely crafted tribute to their childlike, pre-fame romance, set against the thrilling back drop of New York's countercultural blast' (Sunday Times)

'Terrifically evocative ... The most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late '60s and '70s that any alumnus has committed to print' (New York Times)

'A tender, harrowing, often hilarious portrait of young lovers forging their paths in an eccentric milieu of Beat poets, Warhol socialites, and transvestites, rock stars and artists ... Much has been written about that time, but Just Kids offers new insight' (Vogue)

Book Description

Winner of the 2010 Non-Fiction National Book Award Patti Smith's evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindred Spirits 19 April 2010
By The Wolf TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Anyone familiar with the lives and works of
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe will know
that this story cannot have a happy ending.
Mr Mapplethorpe's death from AIDS-related illness
in 1989 drew a sad line underneath a unique
friendship. 'Just Kids' is Mme Smith's memoir of
that extraordinary relationship.

That they were kindred spirits from the start is evident
in Smith's affectionate prose. The energy that held them
together, in love and in adversity, contributed immeasurably
to their respective artistic achievements.
I had not realised how intertwined their creative paths
had been until reading this beautifully written book.

The 'High Priestess Of Punk' is a surprisingly gentle
and sensitive narrator. Starting with tender and vivid
reflections of her childhood in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
we quickly see that she will not linger there for long.
That she was an outsider (albeit a somewhat timid one)
from the start made her eventual pilgrimage to the dark
beating heart of culture in New York City inevitable.

She and Mapplethorpe fell into each others lives as much by
chance as by design. The descriptions of their early struggles
to establish a place for their art are unsentimentally drawn.
Her tales from the bowels of the Hotel Chelsea and accounts of
the brutal pecking order of bohemian wannabes at clubs like
Max's Kansas City are littered with the names of iconic
characters from this colourful period of the city's history.
It is as much a story of a time and place as it is an
excavation of her own emotional and creative trajectory.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where friendship and art meet. 2 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover
This is an interesting memoir, especially for fans of Mapelthrope or Patti Smith. For the younger generation who may not be familiar with these two names. Maplethorpe was a photographer with a style that was recognizable no matter his subject (he died of AIDs in his early 40s in 1989) and lets just say he wore his homosexuality proudly (for more on mapelthorpe I recommend Mapplethorpe: A Biography). Smith is the poet singer song writer often referred to as the grandma of punk rock and an activist for many causes to this very day. In this Memoir Smith writes about her relationship with Maplethorpe in the late and early 1970s before they became famous. I thought it was fascinating to read about these two icons before they realized who the were or wanted to be. Its hard not to think of Smith as a poet rebel, guitar in hand or Mapelthorpe as the in your face artist, but Smith's book takes the reader back to when both were "Just Kids." You see Smith and Maplethorpe as young people, not always secure in who they are, groping to find their passions that were burning inside but not fully understood. In this memoir Smith also presents a picture of a New York that no longer exists, and that alone makes this wonderful reading. Not all song writers can successfully write lyrics as well as prose, Smith though has a gift with the written word that is transcendent. Heart felt and honest, like her music, I highly recommend this book. For more honest reading concerning Hollywood Icons in the 1960s I have to recommend "Misfits Country."
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patti Smith's Just Kids 28 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book arrived swiftly and safely. It is a wonderful autobiography, the best I have read in years. Sensitively and honestly written, it is obvious that Patti Smith is a world away from celebrity culture. She is not influenced by money, status or fame..how bloody refreshing. She gives perceptive insights into many of the fast movers in the late 60s and early 70s American pop and art culture. I only wish I had no short term memory so I could read it again afresh....BRILLIANT
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just beautiful 25 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover
Beautifully written and moving account of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe's relationship. It's clear that Patti Smith thought about every element of this: the font, the photographs, the layout, as well as the poetry of it. Even if you know nothing about either of them (which my partner didn't until I urged him to give it a go) you will be touched by the hopes and dreams of these two 'kids'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JUST BEAUTIFUL 11 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover
A wonderful book.

I have always loved Patti Smith and the person, poet and singer she is.

I was deeply moved by this account of her life and her meeting with Robert Mapplethorpe, who became a life long friend and love of hers.

I hope to have the pleasure of seeing her play in Brussels once again, everytime I cross the Grand Place, I think of her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Kids [Kindle edition] 30 Jan 2011
By R. Tidd
Format:Kindle Edition
Just Kids I was interested in the Kindle version of this but no photographs are included due to copyright reasons.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coney Island babies... 22 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Really beautiful and touching book, which greatly exceeded my expectations.
This isn't a book about Patti Smith, or her music, nor even about Robert Mapplethorpe, though obviously there's plenty about them and their work between these covers. It's a book about their relationship as artists and lovers as an entity in its own right, and as such it's one of the finest love stories you will ever read - a mostly platonic story for sure, but no less powerful for all that. You put the book down feeling that he was surely her 'other half', and she his - that they made one another whole, as people as well as artists.
The writing is never sentimental, even when it's dealing with Robert's untimely end - it's crisp and hard-edged, but never prosaic, and the more powerful for it. Her recollections of tough times in New York around the turn of the 70s and growing up in places like the Chelsea Hotel and CBGBs before they became tourist destinations are captured with an artist's clear eye and are a valuable addition in themselves to other memoirs of those times. But it's the story of Robert and Patti that rightly dominates. A very moving, life-affirming memoir, and highly recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in their work and those times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Really very well written but unless you are really au ...
Really very well written but unless you are really au fait with the real characters and connections, a little hard to follow.,
Published 12 days ago by L. K. Rowley
4.0 out of 5 stars memorial of it's time
Patti paints a vivid picture of her time with Robert, fitting of the artists they both wanted to be and in fact became. Read more
Published 1 month ago by YvonneL
5.0 out of 5 stars Patti Smith( born 1946) and Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 to 1989), lives...
A friend called this book simply the best book she had ever read, but did not add anything more. I was about half way through before I realised I was reading a biography and not... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Piers Rowlandson
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving
I wish I had discovered Patti Smith when I was younger. This is a very spiritual book. More spiritual than most of the crappy spiritual books by crappy spiritual teachers who teach... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Plastikman1972
5.0 out of 5 stars again the reviews were right
Always thought that Patti was a little up her own arse but not on the basis of this entertainingly honest read
Published 4 months ago by gordon Sharpe
5.0 out of 5 stars really inspiring
simple and tender, talks of love, art and spirituality in a very inspiring way.. i enjoy descriptions of new york of the time
Published 4 months ago by polyxeni
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Book
Great service a total brilliant read, now passed on to rest of family. I would buy again and recommend to others.
Published 5 months ago by Ian Saltmarsh
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
an enchanting American story: the developing of two artists in the new york jungle of the early 70's . .
Published 5 months ago by GRETA
3.0 out of 5 stars You might have to be a bigger fan of her than me..
Good read, but I guess I'm not as big a fan as I thought I was. If you think she's the absolute greatest, then this is for you! :)
Published 5 months ago by Simon Hermansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Although I have never heard or read any of Patti smiths work previously I found this book truly engrossing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by debra maggs
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