Just Kids

Smith, Patti

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Just Kids
In this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780066211312
Branch Call Number: B Smith S
Characteristics: xii, 278 p. : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: American Music Collection


From Library Staff

List - NYPL's Best Reads (2014) by: NYPLRecommends Dec 16, 2014

This summer I finally read Just Kids, Patti Smith's eloquent memoir of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their development as artists. It was wonderful to see the New York City of the late 1960s and 1970s through her eyes. I wonder if any of our future poets are sleeping in city parks... Read More »

Punk pioneer, Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young artist named Robert Mapplethorpe.

From the critics

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Sep 05, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The title of Smith's memoir comes from a comment she and Robert Mapplethorpe overheard about them while they were on Coney Island in 1969. The photograph of them taken that day (on the book's cover) depicts a young man who would become one of the century's most controversial photographers, and his muse, a poet, artist, and future punk rock goddess. With its roots in the New York counter culture of the late sixties and early seventies, their story is equally revealing, moving, tragic and memorable.

Aug 12, 2014
  • laurelkate rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Beautifully written, however the content wasn't enough to keep my attention.

Jun 22, 2014
  • bmetcalf64 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved this book. Beautifully written and evocative of a really electric time in NYC. I knew next to nothing about the time period, Smith, or Mapplethorpe (except for the show I saw of his work many years ago). It's about them, but it's about artists and the process of making and living art. Inspiring and moving.

Nov 18, 2013
  • EPalmer2295 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Patti's writing is so beautiful. She is a poet through and through, and this memoir is just lovely. A chronicle of unfailing friendship.

Oct 24, 2013
  • AmyEighttrack rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Sacred and the Profane // I was 20 years old when Patti Smith’s album “Horses” came out. If you walked into a hip record store back then and heard that album playing, you knew that the world had made a seismic shift. // Just Kids is the kind of book that is nice to have around. More than a page-turner, it’s the kind of book that’s nice to pick up again, to be once again inspired by. You want to savor it, not try and soak it all up in one go. Patti is detailed about her influences, for example – a nice quality in any biography. Her story is thus imbued with layers of meaning, showing intention. // Yet there is space within it in which to imagine one’s own interpretations. It works very simply – it is good storytelling. // She tells of the close personal, creative and spiritual collaboration she shared with Robert Maplethorpe; of their ongoing dialogue. It was/is timeless. No one can speak of Maplethorpe’s work with more authority – their story seems essentially and inextricably linked. // It is at times a very plain, simple story of poverty and struggling to get by. Humble, waif-like beginnings, humility; and deep within the core of that, an essential understanding, confidence and belief in one’s self. // Simple, aesthetic pleasures – aren’t they the best kind? Choices had to be made about money: food or art materials? // Holding struggle sacred, as a part of artistic process; or alternatively, simply stating the reality of the way that it was. She makes that kind of commitment to art seem attractive and noble. // The value of having a muse, of collaboration. One is struck by the belief that they had in themselves, and in each other; how their combined vision gave them strength and maturity. // Contrasted with this was their unique position within the eye of a dizzyingly glamorous, historic cultural and artistic milieu – New York in a time of incredible ferment. The Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, the Andy Warhol scene; CBGB’s, punk rock, new wave, rock ‘n roll, poetry, art – they were there at the center of it all, participants. There was a change occurring in human consciousness… // She doesn’t candy coat or glamorize anything. She doesn’t need to – she was there. I liked her everyman/common man sensibility. // I like her perception and insight into Robert Maplethorpe’s early work – how it portrayed male gay sexuality in an entirely new aesthetic – with a simple, factual, plain dignity. // Her narrative voice – her eye for detail, the movement of time and discernment of what’s important – makes herstory engaging. She shares her artistic process and struggles. One gets a sense of integrity, spirituality and honor. It’s nice to learn the many sources of her inspiration and vision. // As autobiographies go – indeed, biographies – this one is a gem. It is good that she’s been able to share this story with us. It’s not something that’s easy to do. It takes a big heart – love, understanding and wisdom.

Apr 18, 2013
  • pridi_o rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really like Patti Smith, but I don't like her music or poetry. And I didn't quite like her writing in this book. She uses to many adjectives and mentions too many names of cool people. Her narrative is erratic. The story about her and Robert just drags on and on. Also, the conclusions, pieces of wisdom or analysis are very limited. She is certainly not a philosopher, which somehow I expected. Having said all that, I still like her for her rebelliousness and strength not to conform.

Jan 28, 2013
  • sszary rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Don't read this unless you enjoy beautifully written books about amazing people.

Jan 08, 2013

A thoughtful, poetic jewel of a memoir from the surprisingly gentle music icon.

Dec 17, 2012
  • drpippa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

sensational book. A MUST read.

Dec 17, 2012
  • mjhoy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Poignant beginning and end, but a good portion of the middle I found less interesting and somewhat unfocused.

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