Just Kids by Patti Smith
I wouldn’t’ve picked up this book if it hadn’t’ve won the National Book Award for nonfiction. But I wouldn’t’ve kept reading it unless I liked it.*
This is the kind of book that’s difficult to put down, and I’m still trying to figure out why that is.
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe met when they were young and impoverished in
This book is a love letter to Mapplethorpe from his old friend, and it’s a memoir of a very unconventional life. Make that: two very unconventional lives.
It’s the sort of book that is true, yet seems like it must be make-believe. There are famous 70s counterculture figures popping up on every page, and they’re the minor characters in this story, which has Smith and Mapplethorpe planted firmly and fascinatingly at its center.
And this, from a reader who, before reading the book, would have failed any test that asked me to write one sentence describing their work.
In addition to describing a weird and wonderful (and true!) journey, the book is a pleasure to read. Smith’s writing is sheer loveliness; her sentences draw pictures.
Je ne sais quoi—it’s all over this thing.
* I also checked out the National Book Award for fiction, and made it about 5 pages before moving right along…