Just Kids – Patti Smith (2010)

A few nights ago I made it to Patti’s appearance at the Bagdad Theater here in Portland, for the release of her memoir ‘Just Kids’, and this morning I finished the book.  It’s a good one.  Centered on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she met in 1967, it tells of their bohemian artsy ways in New York City in the late sixties and early seventies.  Perhaps it’s to be expected, but in those times neither of them had yet really hit on what would turn out to be their strongest talents.  Patti was doing poetry and drawing, while working at a bookstore, and Robert was doing jewelry and sculptures made from bric-a-brac found and treasured (he resisted photography for a long time, only in part because it was expensive).  The book really does put you there with them, in an NYC that doesn’t exist anymore.

Here’s the word from Tom Carson’s NYTBR review:

“Just Kids” is the most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and early ’70s that any alumnus has committed to print. The tone is at once flinty and hilarious, which figures: she’s always been both tough and funny, two real saving graces in an artist this prone to excess. What’s sure to make her account a cornucopia for cultural historians, however, is that the atmosphere, personalities and mores of the time are so astutely observed.

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