title: Just Kids [support an independent bookseller and buy at Strand]
by: Patti Smith
published: January 2010
source: New York Public Library
“Robert [Mapplethorpe] was a master at transforming the insignificant into the divine.” (p. 121)
Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids is an incredibly engrossing read. Spanning her childhood to her years as part of New York City’s vibrant downtown art community of the 1960s and 70s, Smith recounts her deep connection with artist Robert Mapplethorpe in a beautifully honest and compelling way. Some people never find the kind of deep intimacy and understanding that Smith and Mapplethorpe shared, and it was really touching to be allowed a window into their shared history.
Smith is an incredibly talented writer. She writes with such an ease and simplicity that it was a joy to follow her wherever she went.
I was an art history minor in college, and have always been fascinated by the lives of artists. I love being able to catch even a glimpse of how their mind works, where their inspiration comes from and who inspires them. For me, it was incredibly fascinating to see how Smith and Mapplethorpe worked and, in turn, influenced and inspired each other’s work.
Rubric rating: 9. If you are interested in art, music or the 1960/70s, this is a must read memoir. Absolutely lives up to the hype and deserves all of the praise it has received.