#FridayReads: Patti Smith’s Just Kids

Just_Kids_(Patti_Smith_memoir)_cover_artWe continue with biographies and memoirs of interesting women this fall with our #FridayReads. Queen of punk Patti Smith’s blockbuster memoir (seriously it was all anyone could talk about it the year it came out) gets real about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and the story of how she became an artist in New York City during late ’60s and ’70s. A delight, with lots of cameos from names you know including plenty of bad ass women and incredibly cool dudes.  Plus it won the 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction

From Amazon’s Book of the Month in January 10th

Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe weren’t always famous, but they always thought they would be. They found each other, adrift but determined, on the streets of New York City in the late ’60s and made a pact to keep each other afloat until they found their voices–or the world was ready to hear them. Lovers first and then friends as Mapplethorpe discovered he was gay, they divided their dimes between art supplies and Coney Island hot dogs. Mapplethorpe was quicker to find his metier, with a Polaroid and then a Hasselblad, but Smith was the first to fame, transformed, to her friend’s delight, from a poet into a rock star. (Mapplethorpe soon became famous too–and notorious–before his death from AIDS in 1989.) Smith’s memoir of their friendship, Just Kids, is tender and artful, open-eyed but surprisingly decorous, with the oracular style familiar from her anthems like “Because the Night,” “Gloria,” and “Dancing Barefoot” balanced by her powers of observation and memory for everyday details like the price of automat sandwiches and the shabby, welcoming fellow bohemians of the Chelsea Hotel, among whose ranks these baby Rimbauds found their way. –Tom Nissley

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