Just Kids

cover of just kids by patti smithI just read two of my favorite books of 2010 so far. I will write about the novel next time, but first let me tell you about the memoir.

Just Kids by Patti Smith is nothing short of extraordinary. Not being that familiar with her music, I was unprepared for the poetic precision of Smith’s writing. This is no typical rock star memoir, because Patti Smith is not typical in any sense of the word.

When Smith arrived in New York City at 20, she had just given a baby up for adoption and couldn’t find her friends in Brooklyn. She lived on the streets until she found work and an apartment. And then she met Robert Mapplethorpe. It all started with a neclace and a shared passion for art.

Patti and Robert knew they were artists and they never lost sight of that in and for each other. They struggled, they explored, they even went their separate ways yet they stayed bound and devoted to one another. This is no ordinary love story. It is an amazing tribute to a deep and complicated friendship and to the artists-in-garrets days before they became famous.

This memoir would be wonderful discussion. There is so much to talk about: Art, literature, sexuality, friendship, New York, music and the writing itself. Just Kids is a haunting book and is as much an elegy for a New York of the past as it is to the life and death of a dear friend.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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