Book Review: Just Kids, Patti Smith

Just Kids, Patti Smith
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ecco (January 19, 2010)
Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Rating: 4.23 stars
Amazon Rating: 4 1/2 stars

I have always been enamored by Patti Smith, even before I'd ever known her as a performer. It's a strange thing to say, but I was aware of her before I was ever really aware of her. And while her music skirts the fringes of my own tastes, I own several of her albums & have been known to listen on occasion.

Her new book, Just Kids, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for non-fiction, uses the same lyrical sensibilities found in her poems and music. She's both economic and poetic with her language and creates an honest, kid-like view of her world and the characters there-in as she re-tells the story of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe & their struggles as artists in New York in the 60's and 70's.

She doesn't romanticize the life of the artist, but gives us an observer's point of view. She doesn't pretend to know the motives of others, as she writes about these real life characters, nor does it seem important. Everyone in Patti Smith's world was accepted for the human beings they were - not the celebrities. It's easy to see why so many people were drawn to her.
This book engulfed me, once I picked it up, I didn't really put it down until I'd finished (it took me a day to read). I found myself having to read some passages out loud just to hear how they sounded.

Even if you're not a fan of Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, or the artist movement of the late 60's, you'll still enjoy this memoir as Smith takes you back to New York at a time when, through the innocent, hungry eyes of a couple of kids, anything was possible.

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