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on March 26, 2011
Although I knew very little about Patti Smith or the punk rock scene in New York City of the 1970s, I decided to buy this book on the strength of its reviews. Just Kids is not a story about Patti Smith the Legend, but about Patti Smith, a girl from New Jersey who came to New York to find herself. And what a fascinating story it is. With poetic prose, humour and nakedness, Smith recalls her early years in New York City and how, with the mutual love and respect of Robert Mapplethorpe, the foundations of their futures were laid down.

Part of the beauty of her writing is that although we know she will become Patti Smith the Legend, she never conveys a certainty that she will "make it". Rather, she focuses on her and Mapplethorpe's hunger to create and to define themselves and their crafts.

Equally fascinating as Smith's personal story, is the story of New York City in the 1970s. How I would have loved to have been there during that time! She vividly describes the vibrant energy of the blossoming cultural movement and the people who made it and recalls colourful anecdotes of neighbourhoods that have long become gentrified.

I highly recommend this book and I hope it will touch you as it touched me.
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on July 12, 2013
Patti wows with her humility, compassion, and mastery of words that leaves you daydreaming, crying, and craving a genre of art and music that you never cared for before.
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on July 7, 2015
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, considering the artistic sensibility of Smith and Mapplethorpe and the time in which they came of age in New York. Also, so many memoirs are sensationalistic tell-all accounts that trade precious what are often precious memories for book sales. What I found instead with Just Kids was a clear-eyed, warm and sensitively written account of two struggling artists in New York who were always true to each other and their aesthetic vision -- even at their lowest periods. It was beautifully written, full of integrity, and always hopeful.
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on August 11, 2011
Patti Smith has been many artists in her life. This is the story of how she gave herself to art as her life's purpose, and how that commitment was shared by what can only be described as her everlasting best friend, and fellow artist, Robert Mapplethorpe. The book covers the period largely from 1967 to 1973 for Smith, the period she spent with her sometime lover, sometime partner, but always spiritual muse, Robert M. Stylistically, Smith is still at the top her gave. She is a masterful story teller, taking all shock value out of the seedy life in the "artist village" of New York in the late 1960' to early 1970's. The beauty of her descriptive language and tenderness of approach strips away the culture of some considerable decadence to show each and every "person" for what they represent best in lift, not the worst. Though the worst of characters are most certainly well populated in the book. I truly loved this book. Smith has let us share in her intimate life story of this period; such a wonderful valentine for Robert Mapplethorpe and the "artists" life.
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on March 3, 2010
A fascinating time, the ferment of the late 60s and early 70s; and in New York the gawky kid arrives from New Jersey, with her waitress uniform... but, through chance, meets Robert Mapplethorpe, a lovely young god, and they fall in together. Through their life pass numerous icons - Dali, Hendrix, Warhol, the Velvet Underground (Cale produces her first album), Blue Oyster Cult... with reveries of Rimbaud, and a clear view of the great pretender, Jim Morrison, Smith begins to conceive of the persona she will become. Robert discovers his homosexuality and Patti and he eventually cease being lovers but remain confidantes and support for one another - of course, they both go on to fame. A fascinating story, ably told by Smith. Ambition, luck, contacts, and, last, talent lead to success. The artistic milieu is reproduced well and interestingly, along with its politics and both good- and ill-will, and the NYC scene is captured in little verbal photographs. Beautiful.Just Kids
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on April 20, 2012
Touching, inspiring
A must read, even for those who don't know the legendary Patricia Lee Smith. One of the best book I've read so far.
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on November 27, 2015
A poetic journey right back to the magical romance of these two young lovers, and their period of artistic growth at The Chelsea Hotel.
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on January 7, 2016
Beautifully written and touching. Smith's voice is pitch-perfect, sincere and unpretentious. A must-read before delving into M Train.
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on January 2, 2012
I cannot say enough about this book, and in the end, I don't really want to try. I'm a music aficionado and spent my entire adolescence obsessed with punk rock, so that contributed to my curiosity about this book. But honestly, I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates good writing. Patti Smith is such a poet that everything she writes inevitably flows beautifully. What a wonderful insight into a vibrant and tumultuous era. I truly believe there is something for everyone in this book. Read it.
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on February 2, 2011
This is perhaps an "early" review since I haven't quite finished the book, but I have thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Patti Smith has a lovely way with words and weaving the stories of her youth. Anyone who went through the 60s and 70s, who has had a complicated important relationship in their youth, and who knows who Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe are, should definitely take the time to read this book. You won't be disappointed.
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