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Just Kids Paperback – 4 Jan 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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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 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this a compelling insight into the complex, close and highly (artistically and emotionally, if not always financially) supportive relationship between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. I'm not familiar with the work of RM and have come to the book as a fan of the author's music, and whilst music and some of its icons of the late 60s to mid 70s do get a mention (Jimi, The Doors, Janis, Tim Buckley) it is not a book about music. Rather, the central story concerns the artistic paths taken by two driven individuals. You get the impression neither could have achieved what they did without the other, and because I know nothing about the work of RM I have accepted the praise heaped on it by the author (other reviewers clearly think otherwise).
The book beautifully evokes New York with characters from many forms of the arts including painters, poets, fashion designers and musicians - as well as just the beautiful.
I personally really liked the space given to Harry Smith (who lived in the Chelsea Hotel at the same time as PS and RM), who I had previously only known as the enigmatic creator of the important and highly influential collection of field recordings of American folk.
Highly readable, and recommended.

PS I write short reviews to try and help people decide quickly whether an item might be of interest. If you mark this review "unhelpful" (not simply that you disagree with me), then a short comment explaining why would be appreciated.
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2010
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.
Read more ›
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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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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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