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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2010
Patti Smith’s evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe
A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists--Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe – whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.
In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, Scribner’s Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol’s Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years--the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.
Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.
©2010 Patti Smith (P)2011 Patti Smith
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Michelle on 09-21-11

Pure gold.

This audio book had me spellbound. I was transported - lost in the world of Patti and Robert, New York City, 1960's and was oblivious to everyone and everything around me. I hung off every word, and 'couldn't put it down'. If you admire the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and/or Patti Smith you will love this book like I did. But I think even if you have never heard of either of them, you will love it. It stands alone as a love story, a life story, beautifully crafted. That Patti Smith herself has narrated the book makes the audio book even better than reading it visually would be. Her voice adds to the magic. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Kate on 08-21-12

Great!

I've been a fan of Patti Smith's music for years, but initially hesitated to listen to this book because I thought it might be mainly about the relationship between two people, one of whom died tragically young, and therefore a bit depressing. I'm so glad I did listen to it, because it's very much a portrait of a time and place (the late 1960s and the 1970s in New York). It is also about the relationship between Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe, which is handled in a delicate and not at all maudlin way. I gained a lot of insight into all of the participants and their artistic milieu, making me curious to know more about some aspects of the latter, even though I'd already read a fair bit about the topic. The book is read very well by Patti Smith in her distinctive way, which somehow manages to combine directness and deceptive simplicity with emotional complexity and surprising ideas, just like her music. This is a well-crafted and sensitive book that impresses me with Patti Smith's writing.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By ReadingWild on 11-25-15

Wow

As good as it gets, funny, sad, insightful, tragic, rocking and told with honest warmth that you hear rising from the words and the authors own reading.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Emma on 12-01-15

The most spectacular experience

What made the experience of listening to Just Kids the most enjoyable?

The narration and the beauty of the language, harmonising fully with the story, made this my most enjoyable audiobook experience for me to date. I was not into Patti Smith nor very fascinated by the age or Chelsea Hotel before but needed to start going through her work afterwards. And felt an extreme urge to quit my job, sit on a floor and create, and just listen to this over and over (I just barely manage to refrain though)

What was one of the most memorable moments of Just Kids?

The story in itself is not really what makes this book. All the moments where Patti Smith lets us peak below her skin, the vulnerable moments, the moments of sheer joy, the uncertainties of life- those are why this book is such a treasure.

Which character – as performed by Patti Smith – was your favourite?

The story is read with one voice, not portraying the people she has met in her life by different voices, but rather as personal recollections of events.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were occasions of tears running down my cheeks, despite sitting on the commuter train. And episodes where I giggled. But which of all the reflections and events that will move the listener are probably different for every person. Just be prepared to be emotionally involved at some level.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Victor on 08-24-17

Loved it!

Amazing and poetic self biography and testimony of Smith and Mapplethorpe and a period of time and culture.

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By Anonymous User on 04-29-17

wonderful

Just Kids is my first audible book. You will be a hard act to follow Patti. Beautifully written and narrated.

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