Review: Patti Smith – “Just Kids

From the book, “Sleepless 66″, winter 1971:

Click on the image to view it full-size at flickr.

My review of the book and mind you, there are a few spoilers along the way:

This is a surprisingly coherent book from an acolyte of Arthur Rimbaud. That said, Patti is as lucid as she is vague, dim as she is bright and a little blue star in her own right.

The book starts with Robert Mapplethorpe, her muse in a way, dying. Her loss is quite unfathomable to the reader, especially if their connections are unbeknownst to you. To me, they were.

Patti writes of her growing up, of her parents, her siblings and early loss. And of sticking out, of dancing to Motown songs and discovering The Doors. But before that, discovering Rimbaud, a mind-bomb she’ll (hopefully) never recover from.

She finds her way on a trip to New York and can by chance afford the ride, and upon arriving is almost instantly rendered homeless. She avoids her family, destined to find her living in the new city. Destitute? No. She describes the new music coming from speakers as she meets people, especially a man who helps her along her way, guides her into ways of get…more This is a surprisingly coherent book from an acolyte of Arthur Rimbaud. That said, Patti is as lucid as she is vague, dim as she is bright and a little blue star in her own right.

The book starts with Robert Mapplethorpe, her muse in a way, dying. Her loss is quite unfathomable to the reader, especially if their connections are unbeknownst to you. To me, they were.

Patti writes of her growing up, of her parents, her siblings and early loss. And of sticking out, of dancing to Motown songs and discovering The Doors. But before that, discovering Rimbaud, a mind-bomb she’ll (hopefully) never recover from.

She finds her way on a trip to New York and can by chance afford the ride, and upon arriving is almost instantly rendered homeless. She avoids her family, destined to find her living in the new city. Destitute? No. She describes the new music coming from speakers as she meets people, especially a man who helps her along her way, guides her into ways of getting hold of food for next to nothing – and oftentimes for nothing, indeed.

He leaves her life. And she meets her Robert. Their lives are instantly connected by a sort of lovelorn poet’s mist – could also be described as being in love – which is then translated. And deconstructed. And thrown back into the mist.

This is a masterfully written and typeset book, mixed with pictures from the days, both from Patti’s and Robert’s hands, drawings and photographs alike. Patti describes their relationship, how it unfolds and how they search for and/or make art, love, wisdom, escape, knowledge, friendship, work, food, money and travel.

It’s really good, and a very worth-while read not only to Patti Smith fanatics, but to anybody who’s ever wanted to find their own way in love, life and art.

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3 Responses to “Review: Patti Smith – “Just Kids“”

  1. This Matrix and Its False Hope of Love « Enter and Know You Are God Says:

    […] Review: Patti Smith – “Just Kids” (niklasblog.com) […]

  2. Highly recommended Patti Smith: Just Kids | photobook « Fredzimny's Blog Says:

    […] Review: Patti Smith – “Just Kids” (niklasblog.com) […]

  3. Niklas' blog » Blog Archive » Review: Patricia Morrisroe – “Mapplethorpe: A Biography“ Says:

    […] Footnote: I’ve reviewed Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” here. […]

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