Just Kids

Just Kids

by Patti Smith
4.1 319

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Overview

Just Kids by Patti Smith

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060936228
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/02/2010
Pages: 278
Sales rank: 51,370
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock. Her seminal album Horses, bearing Robert Mapplethorpe’s renowned photograph, has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time. Her books include Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, and Auguries of Innocence. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor awarded to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Smith married the late Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit in 1980. They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse. Smith resides in New York City.

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Just Kids 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 319 reviews.
kim_o More than 1 year ago
I find it to be wrong to not clearly state that an e-book is not the same/complete as the paper edition. This e-book does not contain a single picture, of which there are many, in both the hardback and the newly released paperback. I may have chosen to buy it anyway, but I feel there should be full disclosure prior to purchase. The book itself is excellent.
booksgalore62 More than 1 year ago
Ever since I was a teenager in the '70s, I have found Patti Smith to be an intriguing woman. There was no one like her then and there is still no one like her. The new book "Just Kids" details her earlier years in New York City, where she meets Robert Mapplethorpe and they begin their journey together trying to make it as artists. Unlike most autobiographical books written by rock stars or other celebrities, this is extremely well written and not a self-indulgent publicity ploy. It is an interesting look into friendship and loyalty as circumstances and relationships change. Even as their romance subsides, Patti and Robert still remain lifelong friends until his passing. While Robert was a much more controversial figure than Patti, I think this book sheds a lot of insight into both of their personalities. Definitely a great read for anyone who is Patti Smith fan. One of the best of its kind that I have read in a good while. Glad I snapped it up quickly and I do hope she picks up where she left off here.
Lobelia_Peppergrass More than 1 year ago
One almost needs to have an art education to fully comprehend this story. Patti Smith's erudite tale is chock full of literary, poetic and artistic references. But, no matter. I like a challenge, and I will pursue each and every reference, from Baudelaire to Beau Geste to Bertolt Brecht to Corso and Mayakovsky. It's good exercise for the mind and soul. Brave young Patti Smith escapes the prospects of a life of factory work in New Jersey; packing a few small belongings and even fewer coins and going to New York City to make her way into the art world. She meets the handsome artist Robert Mapplethorpe, and together they devote themselves to each other and to art. Their life in the Chelsea Hotel is fascinating, as are the many denizens of the hotel. This is a love story, and a story of perseverance. If Just Kids was one of Robert Mapplethorpe's necklaces, Mapplethorpe himself would be the shining jewel, surrounded by a throng of lesser gems, like Sam Shepard, Janis Joplin, Harry Smith, Todd Rundgren, and even Smith herself. Mapplethorpe's genius, and also his dark side are described in detail. Her devotion to him never waivered, despite Mapplethorpe's ongoing homosexual experimentation and drug use. The story ends with the death of Robert Mapplethorpe. I would have liked to have known more about Fred "Sonic" Smith, Bob Dylan, etc. and the music biz. Perhaps Ms. Smith will write of these later years in another book. I recommend this book to Patti Smith fans, and to anyone interested in the New York scene in the late sixties into the eighties. What a slice of life!
lolita12 More than 1 year ago
i always saw patti smith as this goddess of rock and roll. etched in my mind is annie leibovitz's '78 rolling stone cover of patti smith towering over an inferno, a presence stronger than fire. last year's rock and roll hall fame concert featured aretha franklin, annie lennox, the killer, jeff beck, and stevie wonder, yet even on a stage with bono & bruce springsteen i thought it was still patti smith singing "because the night" who stole the entire show. but in her new autobiography, "just kids", patti smith is just a child growing up amongst her books, a teenager falling in love with mysticism (robert mapplethorpe as one of its forms), and an artist enthralled by rimbaud, dylan thomas, and bob dylan. sometimes starving and always vulnerable, it's a patti smith i never would've imagined. a lonely girl, a sad poet, a humbled artist, a grieving widow. gabriel garcia marquez believes that music can save the world. to me patti smith is further proof that it always has.
SashaTurkus More than 1 year ago
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.
reader72 More than 1 year ago
I was blown away by this beautiful portrait of two young artists and best friends. To me, it was fascinating to see how two artistic souls developed into "artists" (and eventually icons, though that is not really included in the book). And while their romantic relationship broke, the description of Smith & Mapplethorpe's lifelong friendship was so touching. Granted, there were so many references to various writers and artists whose work I'm not too familiar with - and some better knowledge might have made the memoir even more impactful, but I still finished reading it and was just blown away at the amazing good fortune that these two people found each other, were able to build and sustain a unique friendship, and were both able to ultimately find success as artists. Reading about their evolution and development is amazing. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To live a full life is a blessing shared by few. Patti Smith introduces us into a life of two young blessed tightrope walkers. Artists whose lives potentiated one another, and without whom neither may have succeeded. Patti shares this with us in intimate detail and as such we are blessed. A truly beautiful poetic love story both touching and provocative. To read it is to be inspired to follow your heart no matter how difficult the hand. A worthwile read for the struggling artist inside us all. Touching to the last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smith's narrative is straight forward, providing a poignant, and at times humorous, look into the early lives and struggles of Robert Mapplethorpe and herself, as they supported and encouraged each other in their artistic development, while enduring hardships that most of us could not imagine. They formed a bond that lasted throughout their lives. I found this narrative of their formative years as artists, to be very fascinating, providing insight into the deep intellectual, emotional and physical commitment required to grow in their artistic fields.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose this book solely on positive reviews and, frankly, was never a fan of either artist, although both were contemporaries of mine. Their work was not really the central focus of the story, however, and Patti Smith's writing is a straightforward but loving portrayal of her enduring bond with Mapplethorpe through the evolution of both of their lives. It also revealed the struggles confronting most artists and their quest for the ultimate prize of mainstream acceptance, of people "getting it'. It's a touching and honest portrayal of young love, sacrifice, and self-awakening, along with the inevitablity of loss and bad things happening along the way. A lovely tribute and very real.
Blitzismydog More than 1 year ago
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe met each other on her first day in New York and became the very best of friends before becoming lovers. Patti's wonderful memoir, separated many years from Robert's death, is a love poem not just to Robert, but to New York, a new emerging generational 'scene,' and the difficult farewell to innocence. Smith is not only a gifted singer/poet, but a wonderful writer; each sentence, each chapter, each story is well thought-out and very tightly spun. As the two 'kids' found and nurtured each other's artistic expressions, they became a tight unit that took on New York, poetry, collage, altar-making, symbolic expression and the emerging artistic personalities of the 70s. Hippies were getting older and punk was not far away. Featured themes, in no particular order: Rimbaud, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, homosexuality, love, devotion, Chelsea Hotel, Vintage apparel, photography, poetry, collages, drama, music, talismans, the significance of birth/death dates. There's a reason Patti Smith won national recognition for this work... it's deeply felt, analytical, imbued with artistic sensibilities, naked revelation, harsh realities of living on very little, and guided by the overbearing sense of being true to oneself. Everyone, of any age, can relate somehow to this book.
Jonster More than 1 year ago
Every paragraph in this book sings with the inspired craftsmanship of the poet, creating vivid image after vivid image in my mind as I devoured this memoir like a starving man. There can be no doubt that Patti Smith is a huge talent any longer. This book vibrates in your hand. The recollections here are hard-won souvenirs of a life lived for art. What emerges is the heart of a woman who, I imagine after reading Just Kids, must be a fine mother. The feeling I am left with after reading this book is a haze of having witnessed perfection in the written word. To me it's one of the most impressive works of the new millenium describing one of the most impressive eras of the 20th century. Five stars. Congratulations to the author on producing such a fine read. Hope to see more books in the future!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
an easy read book about 2 icons of the 1960's. it was interesting to learn how patti and robert connected and how they stayed together through drugs, other partners, homosexuality, etc. it was interesting to learn how art was so central in their life especially when art today seems so uninspired. i would have liked more indepth regarding how patti felt about and why she stayed with robert despite the pain, drugs, stds, etc. also why did she leave nyc to marry fred which seemed to come out of nowhere...then she married him and moved to detroit.. what motivated her to leave the art scene, her friends, her beloved chelsea hotel,etc. i could have used an extra chapter to tie some loose ends up.
JerseySam More than 1 year ago
This book was written by a wise women who lived in the moment. Patti today is still a kid at heart. I am sixteen and i loved the book, very relatable and inspiring. It impacted me a lot in my own life. The story Patti tells is beautiful as she meets the most amazing people in history in the most random moments. She doesn't just write about herself in her autobiography but the people she met in her life. Patti writes with love and passion, you can tell she doesn't regret a single move. I love how she wrote so much that i wish i could meet her.
RKIRK More than 1 year ago
Patti writes in a way that makes anyone who has struggled as an artist or writer can understand. Hard to put down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing is eloquent and intelligent. The story engaging and fascinating. Patti and Robert met and landed in the middle of it all during the last 60's, 70's and early 80's. What a journey!
obeythekitty More than 1 year ago
I wasn't a big fan of Patti or Robert, but I love NYC and she hit the streets there the same year I finished high school, so all her period references resounded in me. the book isn't intended to be a total bio, but is a perfect picture as titled, when the eventual artists were "just kids" together.
Buckigirl More than 1 year ago
Patti Smith gives us a well-written and lovely tribute to one of the loves of her life, and gives us thoughtful insights into the mind of a great, but highly controversial artist.
kama_66 More than 1 year ago
Patti Smith is an artist of the highest order. Her ability to articulate what was obviously an intense relationship is fascinating. Highly recommend this one.
eemagin More than 1 year ago
I can't think of a more wonderful gift than Smith's story of their love of one another.
K E More than 1 year ago
as a painter and fan since high school in Oyster Bay, Long Island in late 70s I want to say Patti Smith was always been an influence and inspiration - to create art- this book captures the jouney of becoming a creator of art
Suz44SR More than 1 year ago
On one hand, this book was tortourous for me to read. Filled with names of people and artists that I ddidn't recognize. Sometimes compelled to skim through it. However, I forced myself to finish it. And surprisingly, by the end of the book, I had developed a deep appreciation and affection for the 2 main characters of the book. I was deeply disturbed and saddened by their departure from one another and Robert's death. Therefore, I conclude, it must be a very well written book!
SugarMama More than 1 year ago
This book was so beautifully written, truly a labor of love. I was busy raising my kids when Patti Smith was breaking through on the music scene, so I am not very familiar with her music. Obviously, my loss. I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders how the artistic process works. We always think of artists breaking through "overnight". She chronicles all the struggle involved. And the portrait of New York during that time is so vivid, I can feel the grit on my skin. Amazing!
Sanarye More than 1 year ago
I have adored Patti Smith since 1977. This book was just the best! You must read it! She won the National book award and it was well deserved.
LisaE-1111 More than 1 year ago
Patti Smith's voice beautifully paints an image of a period in time that makes the reader feel as if she is sitting in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel reading the book. In her remembrances, Patti recalls with vivid detail the unique adventures and characters who passed through the lives of Robert and herself. Reading her work makes me love her all the more. Patti's passion for the arts and the entire lifestyle has revived the creativity within me. She inspires me to pursue my love of art, music and poetry. She reminds me to view life through the eyes of an artist, a poet ~ not to get caught up in the fast pace of the technological world, but to remain focused on the heart and connections with real people. I look forward to reading every word she has ever written!
jazzbuff More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading about Patti Smith's early life and career. There was struggle, love, very reduced circumstances, and finding happiness in the simple things. She and R. Mapplethorpe certainly had that artistic spirit.