Books · Reviews

(Audio) Book Thoughts: Just Kids (Patti Smith)


Title: Just Kids
Author/narrator: Patti Smith
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography / Memoir / Autobiography / Culture
First published: 2010
Edition: audio book

It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation. Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max’s Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous—the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.


This was a memoir I read for a book club I like to join in with when I can. I knew about Patti Smith of course, but I had not really any idea what kind of life she had led.

This memoir focuses on Patti’s relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. It runs up to their meeting in New York and then takes us along the ups and downs of their quite extraordinary relationship, which lasted until his death in 1989. We meet a host of famous faces along the way, but it never distracts from the core of the story that Patti is telling us.

Patti’s writing is so beautiful I quickly found myself engrossed in her life. Her descriptions of small details she notices in the world around her are exquisite and the way she relates and refers to other people I found very touching. I really enjoyed listening to the audio book for this and hear her tell this very personal story in her own voice.

In essence, this is a book that focuses on a relationship between two people who share a beautiful connection. I found it really inspiring and moving. It really feels like an heartfelt tribute to a man who meant the world to her.

I think this memoir has my heart. I have ordered myself a physical copy to treasure and a couple more of Patti’s books, because I have a feeling she may well become on of my favourite authors.

7 out of 7 stars

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