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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindred Spirits
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...
Published on 19 April 2010 by The Wolf

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Kids [Kindle edition]
Just Kids I was interested in the Kindle version of this but no photographs are included due to copyright reasons.
Published on 30 Jan. 2011 by R. Tidd


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth a read, 4 Mar. 2011
By 
D. J. C. Cuffe "Dave Cuffe" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Just Kids (Hardcover)
I saw a review of this somewhere and bought it on a whim. I was never particularly a fan of either Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe although I am of the same generation. This book is the account of their relationship and it is one of the most moving things I have read. I am not qualified to comment on its literary merit, but I have not stopped talking about this book since I read it. Even though you know the outcome from the outset, it is so well put together that when I turned the last page I had to stop myself from crying, and I'm a tough old guy. In addition, there is a vivid evocation of 1970s New York and biography of two kids, who were indeed artists. If you come to this cold, with no previous exposure to Patti Smith, as I did, do as I did and buy "Horses" her first album, and watch her on U-Tube.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less Chelsea, more photographs!, 1 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Just Kids (Paperback)
"Just Kids" is an enjoyable enough read, but the book feels slightly unfinished to me. It is divided up in five chapters - the childhoods of Patti and Robert, the early years, the time at the Chelsea, the time after the Chelsea and the last years. The emphasis is on the time at the Chelsea and overly so, I feel, especially with what feels like a biiit too much of name dropping going on... (I mean, yes, there were a lot of well-known and famous people around, but do we really have to know them all?) I would personally have liked to read a lot more about both the early and the last years. That said, "Just Kids" is a good read and even more so because of the just beautiful (!!!) photographs that are spread throughout the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A POETIC MASTERPIECE!, 20 Jun. 2011
By 
Ronny Søgård (Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Just Kids (Paperback)
This is a wonderful poetic masterpiece by Patti! I loved this book. She writes so fantastic, and with such love for the language.

And what a story her life together with Robert Mapplethorpe is! Mapplethorpe was a true artist just like Patti! This must be one of the best books I have ever read, and I have read books by some really good authors (Kerouac, Bukowski, Fante and Pessoa to name some of them).

There`s also some relly nice photos in this book, taken mostly by Patti and Robert.
This is their story, and I don`t think it could have been told much better than this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, erudite memoir, 18 Oct. 2013
By 
This review is from: Just Kids (Paperback)
I've been intrigued by Patti Smith since I first heard her early albums in my teens, so I was fascinated by her memoir about starting out as a poet, artist and - eventually - singer in New York at the start of the 1970s. She and Robert Mapplethorpe (who was pretty much the first person she met there) became friends and lovers and, from a penniless start, carved their way into the art scene.

A random compliment about her hair - that it was "very Joan Baez" - spurred her to give herself a radical makeover: "I cut out all the pictures I could find of Keith Richards. I studied them for a while and took up the scissors, machete-ing my way out of the folk era." And hey presto, with her new, punky 'do', suddenly she finds herself getting noticed.

She name-drops in the nicest possible way, encountering Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, William Burroughs; and for a time she went out with playwright and actor Sam Shepard.

She comes across as simultaneously worldly and a tad naive. Her writing is beautiful, and the portrait she paints of this formative time in hers and Mapplethorpe's lives, before their paths diverged, is compelling. You don't have to know much about either of them to enjoy the book.

I've only seen Patti Smith perform live once, at an intimate solo gig in June 2009 at Farringford, the former home of poet Tennyson on the Isle of Wight. It was in a lavish drawing room, to an audience of 200 people. She was 62, and took the stage in such a shy, self-deprecating and seemingly disorganised manner, rooting in a bag for poems, that I wondered whether an imposter had turned up. But as soon as she opened her mouth to read, or sing, she became instantly poised and confident, commanding the room. I was surprised by her love of poetry, not realising that poetry recitals in New York were what eventually triggered her career as a song-writer and singer. This was the "real" Patti Smith I was seeing.

Now, reading her wonderful memoir, it all makes sense. She has come full-circle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just kids, 26 July 2012
By 
P. Sewards (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Just Kids (Paperback)
Just Kids

This memoir, by the singer Patti Smith, of her relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, is one of my favourite books. I first read it two years ago, and again this week, so it doesn't share the same history of multiple re-readings of other favourites of mine - for example `Little Women'. Quite satisfyingly that novel, and the character Jo March, are also rated highly by Patti Smith.

Like all the best autobiographies it reads as if the protagonist is chatting to you in a coffee shop. Lyrical in places, this story is. for the most part, told with direct simplicity, it differs in style from Patti Smith's poetry and shaman-like song performances.

Reading for the second time I am aware that there is a lot of mythologising in this book. Patti represents herself, Robert Mapplethorpe and their relationship, as she wishes the reader to see them. Surely this would be true of any memoir, stories will vary depending which standpoint in the future they are narrated from. Sadly a blurb on the jacket which says that the book is 'A love story which turns into an elegy' is true and poignant. We can all identify with the subject matter. Who does not have a first love who is now dead, in a metaphorical sense if not in actual life? Patti speaks of all our lives through her own remarkable one.

Patti and Robert's lives initially become intertwined by a couple of unlikely coincidences. At first they are portrayed as existing only in relation to each other, in a bubble of love. As their world expands delicately indicated discords arise. They meet extraordinary people - Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix - the first meetings with these people are described more vividly than the ongoing friendships which developed.

Up until the last few pages the book really lands us into 60 s and 70 s New York City. We are told of frugal meals - and extravagant costuming on a budget. Each outing, whether to an auto-diner, or the inner sanctum of Andy Warhol, required attention to bohemian detail - described here with delectable accuracy. Often these friendships are painfully short - think Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrisson. Patti did not actually meet Morrisson but she witnessed a stage performance and saw him as a role model. Later she was one of the early pilgrims to his grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

The closing sections of the book describe Patti's rise to fame in passing, and Robert's barely at all. But she skillfully gives us a sense of his presence by quoting him. - `Patti', always `Patti', and then some humorous, or evocative statement. She makes the reader feel familiar with Robert - a beautiful young man - burning with dreams, by giving us not just the description of his physical appearance but also his voice - the `brother-sister dialogue' of their relationship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patti Smith magic, 16 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Just Kids (Hardcover)
For anyone like me, who is young, confused and worried about the future, this book basically tells you "it's all gonna be fine". For anyone who is older and done with being worried and confused about the future, it tells you that there is little point in regretting what has been done in the past.

Its basically Patti Smith magic from the first page to the very last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Kids, 14 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Just Kids (Paperback)
The book is just everything i expected and more.
It has pictures all over and a note from Patti you can't find in the previous edition, explaining what led her to write the book.

The only thing that didn't go so well was the time the expedition took.
It should had arrived before christmas and i received it only in the first week of january.

If you have any doubts about this edition, just forget them.

Great literature is right here.

Cheers
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patti and Robert's story told, beautifully, from the heart, 30 Jan. 2011
By 
This review is from: Just Kids (Hardcover)
"Just Kids" is quite simply one of the most beautiful, heartfelt memoirs I have ever read. Firstly, it must be said that it's not a straightforward Patti Smith autobiography and you won't find many in-depth behind-the-scenes accounts of her rock stardom here; by the same token, the reader really does not need to have much knowledge of either Smith's work or that of Robert Mapplethorpe to enjoy the book - such is her skill at tenderly telling the story of an intense and incredibly loving, lasting friendship.

The book charts Smith's departure from the monotony of working in a New Jersey factory to seek the stimulation of the artistic hub of New York City. A chance encounter with a young man of the same age and aspirations, Robert Mapplethorpe, in the Summer of Love sets them both on an intertwining journey. We follow them from place to place: from their small apartments, funded by Patti's job at a bookstore and Robert's odd jobs, which form the bedrock of their artistic vision - poetry is created there, photographs are taken and collages are made, and they navigate the simultaneously harsh and beautiful world of the city together; to the Chelsea Hotel, where Patti is entranced by the curious, fascinating cast of characters who walk through the door; to the loft space they share where Robert's creativity blooms; to Patti's solo pilgrimage to France to pay her respects to Baudelaire and Rimbaud and Jim Morrison.

Patti and Robert's relationship is presented as a complex one; it's one of love throughout, but morphs from romantic love to a deep friendship with a brother-sister connection. Smith is best known for her searing, imaginative song lyrics and poetry, but her prose is absolutely gorgeous, accessible but poetic and beautiful all at once. She writes with refreshing honesty and objectivity about her responses to their changing situations, including Robert's evolving sexuality and creative expression, and you get the sense of a warm, wise woman from the first page to the last. Such is Smith's subtle skill, and razor sharp evocation of the sights and sounds and smells of the city, that you feel like you know all the people she is writing about. It's incredibly vivid and well-drawn and authentic. The final pages, where Patti jumps ahead almost fifteen years in time to the late '80s, are heartbreakingly sad but beautiful as she writes of Robert's final years, stricken with AIDS.

Smith explains that she promised Robert that one day she would tell their story; "Just Kids" fulfils that promise and in doing so reveals Patti Smith to be a writer of exquisite detail and heart. It's a book about Patti and Robert, not Patti's rock career, or marriage to Fred 'Sonic' Smith, or '90s renaissance. It's like a love song in word form and doesn't try to be anything other than the story of a lasting relationship. Albums like Horses have sealed her musical reputation, but "Just Kids" is right up there with her best, most beautiful, and most important work. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 20 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Just Kids (Hardcover)
Simply a beautiful memoir. Whereas Patti Smith's music, especially the early work that made her name, is often intense and veering toward the angry, this book is tenderly observed and affectionately written. Culturally and historically, it bridges the gap between the music of the 60s and the music of mid-70s New York that eventually gave birth to punk. Patti Smith straddles both eras, from her encounters with Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and a brief run-in with Grace Slick, to the burgeoning CBGB's and the band Television. Her fusion of art-poetry and edgy rock was a unique American voice. Her courage and integrity and devotion to poetry permeate the book.

Throughout are numerous candid pictures of Patti and Robert in their room at the Chelsea Hotel, or along the Coney Island boardwalk (with Patti very much looking like a child of the 60s!), all culminating, for me, in that iconic cover photo for Horses. Once of the best reads I've had of late. Well worth the purchase and the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singer, poet, writer, 1 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Just Kids (Kindle Edition)
I've never been a fan of Patti Smith and the only thing I knew about her was that she recorded "Because the night" hit. I've never heard about Robert Mapplethorpe. I read a fragment of the book in magazine and I ordered it immediately.

Astonishing picture of the rock and roll era, simple and frank portrait of artists of these times and - the most beautiful story of friendship and love that lasts forever.
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Just Kids
Just Kids by Patti Smith (Paperback - 4 Jan. 2011)
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