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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 November 2016
This is the story of how Patti Smith met and lived with the young Robert Mapplethorpe during the late 60's and 70's and how their relationship remained close even after he realised he was homosexual, and Patti Smith married and had a family. Their eventual success in their chosen fields - singer/songwriter, poet, artist, and in Mapplethorpe's case, photographer, did not come easy. The book is sometimes a shocking read as Smith recounts how they stole, took drugs, lived in squalor, and for Mapplethorpe at times selling his body for money as well as pleasure. Through it all they were unwavering in their determination to follow their art. Eventually, dying of Aids, Mapplethorpe wonders if the quest has caused his death. It's not an easy read but it's a fascinating one, as name upon name appears of the people who made the 60's what it was in the fields of art, music and writing.
Now I must read Rimbaud, who Patti Smith reverences, and references continually.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 December 2016
I loved this. Slightly baffled by people who don't know who Robert Mapplethorpe is and who didn't realise this was a book about her relationship with him and how she believed he fed into her artistic process and vice versa. I loved the style of the book and thought it was fascinating. It gave me a real sense of how Smith perceived the frankly amazing times in which she lived and the company she kept. I loved the poetic nature of the writing.
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on 9 April 2014
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 a novel. The story unfolds so fast and with such inevitability that I thought this must be a novel, real life is just not this fantastic. The action is fast and furious and the pace unrelenting, with one potentially lethal disaster following another as in an opera. Then just at the moment you think the pair have survived the worst and will live to enjoy fame and fortune cruel fate plays the final card. When they were just kids Patti and Robert dedicated their lives unconditionally to art and made their way independently to New York. They did not know each other and had never met and were from very different backgrounds yet at first meeting it was as if long lost siblings and found each other. In fact people found it easier to believe that they were twins than that they were partners. She was his muse and devoted herself to keeping him alive and to promoting his art, whatever that happened to be at the time. She seemed to understand even his most extreme behaviour and to accept it. Yet at the same time she remained independent and was able to pursue her own artistic vision. While Patti relates their storey the pair move through Greenwich Village and the Bowery meeting nearly all the fantastical people who populated that twilight world. Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the extraordinary entourage around Andy Warhol; their friends and acquaintances seem to have been as eclectic as their art. There is an amusing incident when Alan Ginsberg tries to pick up Patti thinking she is a boy, lending her some loose change. Despite the initial awkwardness of the situation they quickly establish a rapport and mutual respect. When things are really bad Patti and Robert make a pack that they will always be there for each other. When at last they are both successful they maintain a very close friendship while slowly drifting apart. It is hard to think of another pair of artists who had such a successful and fruitful relationship and were so close and yet so independent. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre come to mind but not many others. This is a wonderful book, not to be missed.
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on 13 April 2018
I am going to see Patti in London when I go to see Nick Cave and apart from a couple of songs I did not know much about her, so started watching her interviews and listening to her music. I find her so calming, inspirational, and "real" that I can't wait to see her now. In her interviews she talked about her book so thought I would give it a try. Thouroughly enjoyed it and found it educational, to have a friendship such as hers and Roberts is enviable and special.
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on 28 September 2016
Had just read Mrs Smith's lovely M Train - a pocket book stream of consciouness travelogue, and wasn't ready to stop the conversation.
Just Kids is inspiring. From a time when not only bank or social media conglomerate employees inhabited metropolitan centres - and a certain kind of louche poverty mothered the necessity of their pushy self-invention. Kind of innocent despite all the sex & drugs & rock and roll. Liked the beginning and middle more than end, but such is life.
Pls also read I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp if you haven't already, for the genius Mr R Hell's very forensicly poetic examination of his own journey in same era.
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I guess if you want to know what actually happened at last night's party you should ask the most sober person there and for the creative orgy that was 70's New York City that person is Patti Smith. Having avoided the worst drug excesses of her contemporaries she's retained amongst the clearest recollection of that time.

It's really touching to read how she and Robert Mapplethorpe look out for each other as they struggle to become artists and inspiring to hear how much they galvanise each other's talent and ambition. They must seem, in hindsight at least, to be the oddest of odd couples yet the most affecting and somehow the truest thing in the book is their love for each other. Patti Smith is probably the only person that could have lived this story and she's certainly the only person that could tell it with so much honesty and grace.
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on 19 May 2017
I didn't know much about Patti Smith until I read her memoir- she's definitely a natural writer and real artist. With her words, we clearly lived her experiences and felt her surrounding experiences, a spiritual person and intuitive
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on 14 September 2014
I've always had respect for Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe even though I'm not a fan of all of their works. This book is amazing though. It follows the events of meeting Robert, falling in love with him and their long term sexual and working relationship secured by the tight bond between them. It also covers his sexual awakening and the events that would lead towards his eventual death from AIDS. It all happened in an exciting period in New York art and music scene that many iconic artists and performers would emerge into worldwide success. Patti writes in a way that draws you in, poetic, highly descriptive and without ego or sensationalising some pretty harrowing events. I read this cover to cover over a day and fell in love with the book.
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on 11 March 2015
This beautifully written memoir focuses on the love, friendship and mutual inspiration occurring between Patti Smith and the controversial photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. Having arrived destitute in New York in 1967, Patti soon meets Robert and then after a few difficult years they end up living at the infamous Chelsea Hotel, home to many of the city's young musicians, artists and writers. From here on their careers are in the ascendant but ultimately they move in very different directions.

This book should appeal not only to fans of Patti and her music but also those wishing to explore the rapidly changing arts scene of New York in the 1960s and `70s.
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on 9 November 2015
Patti Smith achieves something truly sublime in Just Kids. The intimacy and atmosphere punctured my understanding of this era. She eloquently presents the problematic relationship she has with Mapplethorpe while majestically embedding the absolute necessity of their love.

The craftsmanship of their exchanges develops their affinity. The relics exchanged become talismans of a greatness they would embrace. The iconic nature of their social interactions presents the framework of their eventual excellence. Your senses are enveloped by the severance of Smith and Mapplethorpes relationship while equally being fascinating by their indirect codependence.

The coalescence of homosexuality and heterosexuality edifies the morality of burgeoning culture. Their love proves that the binary of sexuality fails to appreciate the beauty of human interaction.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend this book to others.
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