Book review : Just Kids, by Patti Smith

By The French Pier - March 06, 2016



I have always been a big fan of Patti Smith; my dad has all of her albums and I basically grew up listening to her deep voice and meaningful words. She’s one of the artists I’ve seen the most in concert (along with Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran…) and each time is better than the last.

It’s always been obvious in her texts, and in the way she interprets them on stage that she didn’t have what you’d call a ‘normal life’ and I’ve always wanted to know more about her. I don’t know why it took me so long to read that book, it had been sitting in my book shelf for over a year when I finally decided to open it in February. 

When I understood, after a few pages, that this book would not just be about her, but mostly about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, I became totally unable to put it down, and just read and read and read and did nothing else until I had read it all.

I said it before, I’ve always been very interested in photography, and one of the artists that I always make sure I go see the exhibit when there is one in Paris is Robert Mapplethorpe (if you haven’t heard of him, I suggest you type his name on Google and take a look at what he’s done during his oh-too-short life).

Being fascinated with both characters, it wasn’t hard for me to get to love the book, and get really attached to the story itself. Patti Smith tells us about her decision to give everything up one day and leave her hometown for New York, where she felt she would become someone.

She’s an artist, and that’s the only thing she is sure of. She meets a lot of people and finds her place among other painters, musicians, actors…

Something that really fascinated me as well was the description she made of a New York that doesn’t exist anymore, where Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and other big and smaller artists all gathered in a little pub at night, to discuss, share and create.

She draws the picture of the golden age of the artistic world, when having talent and a lot of faith in what you were doing was more important than having beautiful hair and a cute face, and she does so magnificently. 


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