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Just Kids
Just Kids
Just Kids
Audiobook9 hours

Just Kids

Published by HarperAudio

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

4/5

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About this audiobook

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

Editor's Note

Beautifully rendered…

Patti Smith’s beautifully rendered memoir — set in the bohemian glamour of the Chelsea Hotel in the late ’60s — chronicles her loving relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their early years as struggling artists.

LanguageEnglish
PublisherHarperAudio
Release dateJul 26, 2011
ISBN9780062111678
Just Kids

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Reviews for Just Kids

Rating: 4.093413173652695 out of 5 stars
4/5

1,670 ratings141 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Just Kids is a beautifully written memoir about the friendship between Patti Smith and Robert Maplethorpe who met in New York City in the 1960s. They were friends, lovers (until Maplethorpe figured out that he preferred men) and true soul mates who maintained a special friendship until Maplethorpe's death in the late 1980s.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A book that unexpectedly made me very cheerful. I'm not sure why, but I think it was the frenzy of doing things you love but not quite knowing how to - which adds up to some kind of aimlessness, still enjoying the place you are (and maybe that is why there is no hurry anywhere). In short, I could relate to this story and it tasted like life.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    I saw Patti Smith in concert about 10 years ago and found her energy amazing, but haven't really dug into her oeuvre. This section of her life, her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe is interesting and covers an interesting bit of cultural history, but suffers from the things I don't like about memoirs - the dreaminess, the gaps, the name dropping. Despite the annoyances, it was an engaging story.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Patti Smith's memoir about her enduring relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and their development as artists during the 60's and 70's in New York City. It is as much about their special bond as it is about their work and how they came to be well known.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Patti Smith's acclaimed memoir about her long, complicated, strange, and deeply intimate relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe.I have to say, there is absolutely no reason for me to think this was a book I was going to like. I have only the vaguest familiarity with Patti Smith's music, and I know Mapplethorpe's work only by reputation. I have absolutely no interest in the NYC arts scene of the 60s and 70s, and the bohemian lifestyle she depicts here has less than zero appeal for me. But I'd heard so many good things about this book that I figured I ought to check it out anyway, and I'm not sorry I did.The writing is fairly compelling. There's a poetic sensibility to it that might almost be bit overdone, but which ultimately avoids feeling too pretentious by virtue of the fact that there's also a deep sense of sincerity and genuine emotion to it. It's impossible not to respect that, and hard not to be affected by it. When she talked about the days before and after Mapplethorpe's death, I honestly got kind of choked up. And whatever I do or don't relate to, this is an interesting glimpse into a particular time and place and culture, and into the lives of some complex, passionate people.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    “Patti, no!”There are so many places throughout this book where Robert affectionately scolds Patti for something or other, and it’s so incredibly endearing.I started Just Kids back in winter, but was too busy to finish it, but not before a coworker told me she’d been reading it too. I recently borrowed her copy to finally reach the end. She also admitted to me that she couldn’t bring herself to finish the last several pages, which, admittedly, are very depressing. Beautiful, but depressing.Smith and Mapplethorpe have an interesting and sometimes arduous journey, but they are truly manna to one another. They took care of each other, oftentimes in ways that no one else could understand.I’ve loved Smith’s music for a long time, but after reading this book, I feel like I’m discovering it all for the first time.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    Just boring name dropping.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Just kids is a memoir written by the American punk rock singer Patti Smith about the period in her early career when she lived together with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It is a very readable book that gives a very warm and fuzzy peek into the 1960s and 1970s. As the title suggests, the memoir focusses on the innocent side of their lives. Hardly any mention is made of Mapplethorpe's homosexuality, to the extent that the reader is led to believe that Smith and Mapplethorpe were not just room-mates, but de facto lovers. It does not become clear whether this was a part of deceit on Mapplethorpe's side or Smith's delusion. It seems the innocence of the memoir seems a ploy to prolong the naivete and illusion that they were more than just room-mates.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A well written book which I nevertheless found increasingly frustrating: Patti Smith's portrayal of her long relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and their mutual circle of poets, artists and musicians, is deep and tender, but what I really wanted to know about was the Patti Smith Group era, and after lots of tantalising lead-up, this is almost entirely skipped over - so as far as I was concerned, the book was like an LP where all the best music had been swallowed by the hole in the middle.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I have to admit, I knew very little about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe prior to reading "Just Kids". I'm so glad that my ignorance didn't stop me from picking this memoir about Patti's relationship with Robert, and the story of their lives together. Patti and Robert were in their late teen years when they first ran into each other in New York City. Drawn together by their shared need to create, Patti and Robert began their relationship with almost nothing, barely getting by without money to even eat consistently. Patti eventually found work in bookstores and reviewing records for magazines and Robert picked up odd jobs or occasionally by hustling for sex with men on 42nd street to bring in extra income. Patti dreamed of becoming a famous poet and Robert was a mixed media artist, without any connections to sell his work.Life began to change for the couple, who were primarily roommates and best friends, after they moved into the famous and historic Hotel Chelsea, where emerging rock stars, artists, and writers of all types lived in the 1960's and 70's. Having grown up in a conservative Catholic family, Robert struggled to understand his homosexuality and began exploring his conflicts through his art and relationships with men. Patti began to have other relationships as well, mostly shortlived but supportive, as both she and Robert began to cultivate small successes in the art world. Robert was particularly drawn to the work of Andy Warhol and he coerced Patti to come with him to hang out in the places those in Warhol's inner circles were known to frequent. As both began to achieve real success, Patti met the man who would become her husband and Robert drew close to his partner and each went their own way. Within a few years, however, Robert contracted AIDS, which eventually lead to his untimely death at the age of 42. Patti's memoir of their lives together is an interesting and emotionally evocative story of two young kids without anything but a love for art and music, who cultivated creativity and success in the other. I really enjoyed reading about their lives and I was particularly drawn to Patti's descriptions of Robert, as she described him as a haunted but passionate soul, consumed with exploring and exposing the forbidden in society. An excellent and very well written account of love, art, and the NYC art scene in the 60's & 70's.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Just a little bit too much pointless namedropping, though.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I didn't think I was going to like this at first, but once Smith gets into her stride and talks about her life with Mapplethorpe in late 60s/early 70s New York, it is fascinating. What an incredible time to be an artist, learning from those who blazed a trail before them and inventing something new for themselves. Smith was in love with Mapplethorpe, and that affects her story telling, but the tough existence they had still comes through. I didn't know much about either of them as people before I read this book, although I admired her as an artist. I warmed to her as a person.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Gorgeously written, the prose is lyrical and evocative in it's own right. Patti Smith's memoir about her early relationship with photographer and artist, Robert Mapplethorpe, during the late sixties and secenties in New York is a treat for anyone. Before reading this book, I didn't know much about Patti Smith and I knew nothing about Mapplethorpe, but afterwards I felt as if I knew them intimately. Patti does a wonderful job plotting the trajectory of their friendship, their time as lovers, and their work as artists. The drugs, the art, the music, the style, the culture, the emotions; all are encased in this tiny little memoir. It's like looking into a time capsule, everything is captured so well. The creative process behind their art, the accompanying photographs, the depth of meaning behind the unsaid and said. A wonderful read, well deserving of the national book award.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I was really enthralled with this book. I haven't read a lot of creative non-fiction, but this captured my interest. Although the story slowed towards the end, I truly fell in love with both Patti and Robert and their story. I fell in love with New York City in the 1960s and '70s. I envied the artists (literary, musicians, and artists) that Patti and Robert brushed shoulders with. The story was a great glimpse into that artistic and cultural time. I really enjoyed reading their story.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Creativity, how this urge manifests itself in two originals in manhattan in the late 60's to 60's. Smith and Mapplethorp were each others muse and champion. Incredible book that doesn't fit a mold. Smith is an incredible story teller of her youth better than my review.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    When you read a book you relate it to your own experiences. So this review will be filled with name dropping and how it relates to myself. I used to work in the East Village bars for more then 10 years and yes i wrote a book about that Barstool Prophets ebook. During that time I not only met Patti Smith but Lenny Kaye, Jane Friedman, Jack Walls, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer and many more. When Patti buys a floppy felt hat from JJ Hat Center on 5th Avenue it's the same place I buy my own hats. So when reading this book I can't separate my experiences meeting these people from the text variation of their former selves. Lenny Kaye standing at the end of the bar placing the needle on the record as he Dj's our Wednesday night party, it's all too real. Side note: He's one of the nicest persons I have met in NYC. Why should you get this book? It's masterfully written. If you are an artist, enjoy the arts or just want to understand what drives artists, this is the book for you. There is a phrase you will hear from the old timers "I miss the old New York" You might think to yourself, you miss the crime, blackouts, crumbling burnt out buildings? Just Kids, will enlightening you to the fact the even in the middle of the hell this city used to be, it possessed a magical ability to bring creative likeminded people together without the worry of high rents. True you might get stabbed by a junkie looking to score some easy cash, but you might also hang out with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or Jim Carroll.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I loved this book. It's surprising how soothing this book is, given Smith's electric performances and material, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the New York music/underground scene of the seventies.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This is a great book. Well written, thoroughly engaging and heartbreaking.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Early in their friendship Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe donned their bohemian finery--she her "beatnik sandals and ragged scarves" and Robert "love beads and sheepskin vest"--and went to spend an afternoon in Washington Square Park. As they walked toward the fountain an older couple took note of them. "'Oh, take their picture,' said the woman to her bemused husband, "I think they're artists.' 'Oh, go on,' he shrugged. 'They're just kids.'" Just Kids is a sweet, charming account of the time Patti and Robert spent together--as lovers, as friends, as growing artists--in New York in the late sixties and early seventies. Smith's prose is lovely, at times oddly formal, but always evocative and fun. She recounts their extreme poverty, as she worked as a bookseller at Scribner's to support them, while Robert did odd jobs and both worked on their art. They lived among artists and poets and Robert aspired to society, first working them into the Warhol set (although rarely in the immediate orbit of the man himself) and then beyond. Smith's story is packed with anecdotes of meetings--sometimes chance and fleeting, sometimes of longer duration and intensity--with such people as Jimi Hendrix (who took pity on her when he came upon her, sitting on the steps to his Electric Ladyland studio but too shy to go in, and chatted her up for a few minutes) and Allen Ginsberg (who bought her a sandwich and coffee at the Automat when she didn't have enough money, and several minutes into their meal together looked at her intently and asked "Are you a girl?" She got the picture immediately, but he said "my mistake," and they continued their meal amiably). Just Kids is not so much a study of the development and growth of the art itself as it is about the two kids becoming artists. Smith's narrative skims across the taking off of their two careers like a stone across a pond, touching down lightly here and there with a story or an anecdote or a description of a photograph or a poem. The book is illustrated with Smith's drawings and Mapplethorpe's glorious photographs, and scattered throughout are poems and songs (including, in the coda at the end which tells of Mapplethorpe's death from AIDS in 1989, the last photos he took of Smith and her family and the poem she wrote for his memorial service at the Whitney Museum).
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    thank you patti smith and robert. this book changed my life.?
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    So eloquent, inspiring, and filled with true love and friendship. Thank you for narrating Patti. Xo
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Love how Pati reads this. Wow. thank you for sharing. It’s beautiful.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    4.5
    I loved listening to the story of an aspiring -something in the moment of the great music and artistry revolution, also the deep relationship between two beings merged into one that could never part from each other. It was beautiful and real and heartbreaking. But the second to last chapter gets kinda rambly that’s why I didn’t give it 5*, still you should listen to this; worth the hype.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Some sections were a fascinating portrait of an era, and others were lyrical and moving. There was a bit too much name-dropping and random details of places and events for me - maybe if I knew more about the people she references, it would have been more interesting to me, but as most of them are just names on a page, that didn't hold my interest.

    Well-worth a read, though.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Heartbreakingly beautiful, sweet, healing. A must read, even for non-fans.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Improbable as it may seem, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and rock icon Patti Smith were the closest of friends from the time they arrived in Manhattan in the late 1960s. They lived together in the Chelsea Hotel, the epicenter of the art and music scene, and were briefly lovers. Their artistic connection lasted until the time of his death in 1989. This memoir is about that friendship, their artistic coming of age, and a very particular time and place, Manhattan in the late 60s and early 70s.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Lives up to the hype. A remarkable story, full of love, heartache, and pain, exquisitely told. I was so glad I finally got around to reading this.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Fantastic memoir from Patti Smith. Coming of age story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. Her writing has a very poetic quality to it (unsurprisingly, being an incredible lyricist and poet) and it is very well written. I loved hearing about the NYC art scene in the late 60's and early 70s, that was fascinating to me.

    I do wish there was more about her musical period. There was very little on that. Most of it covered her life before she got into music. I will probably check out more from her.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Really lovely. As a twenty-something, I enjoyed reading an account of this time in life that celebrates not the debauchery and aimlessness but the deep, life-changing relationships and inspired sense of purpose. Smith gracefully struggles with the conflicting forces of art and personhood, and she comes out the other end keenly yet humbly aware of her success in both. A lesson in the importance of remembering the good stuff.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    More than a memoir,more than autobiography or biography, this is a chronicle of a artistic and cultural era. The story of Patti Smith's intense and long-term relationship with Robert Mappelthorpe is the stuff of legends. I was only familiar with them as icons of the 60s and 70s. Now I have a much deeper picture of that era. Yes, it could have been better edited and shorter but that would have detracted from their story.