Just Kids is a book that enthralled me, surprised me, and ultimately, a book that I have fallen in love with. Not only is it one of the best books I've read this year, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Knowing very little about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe going into reading this, I figured I would enjoy it but not quite appreciate it as much as someone who is a big fan of either. And while that might be true, I still I'm not sure how to do this book proper justice in a review.
And while that might be true, I still came out of this book with the utmost appreciation for both and for those people living, breathing, and being artists today. Because, this book is about art. It's about art that you love so much that you make sacrifices like sleeping on doorsteps or eating anchovy sandwiches. It's about art that consumes you, that frustrates you, that makes you feel alive.
Patti Smith is an artist through and through. And I am completely inspired by her story and her companionship with Robert. Hearing about their lives in 's and 70's New York City was incredible, meeting the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, William Burroughs, and so many more incredibly talented artists, poets, musicians, writers, etc.
For a short time I was transported into the mind of an artist, into the time of her creative birth, and came out of it with an experience that I won't soon forget. I am sure that I will read this book again in the future and each time take away something more. Dec 01, Steven Godin rated it really liked it Shelves: Patti Smith's Just Kids is a rare little gem of perpetual bliss.
This differs from other memoirs I have read, and it left me with deep feeling of simply being happy to exist in this world. Smith writes about her time living in New York with Robert Mapplethorpe while they were both shaking off the dull scraps of adolescence and trying to break out as artists. Strewn throughout the book are pictures of them as very young excitable artists-in-training. I rarely have come across two people in book t Patti Smith's Just Kids is a rare little gem of perpetual bliss. I rarely have come across two people in book that felt very much joined at the hip.
Smith's prose reads like a soft-focus fairy tale. The sections set in the Chelsea Hotel, especially, have an almost Dickensian quality to them; they read as a quaint story full of larger-than-life characters, most of whom have hearts firmly of gold. Reconciling this wistful retelling of her youth with the persona I associate with her was intriguing to say the least.
And obviously I am not the only one who found the disconnect between Patti Smith's presence and her internal life jarring - there are places in the text where she discusses how those around her took her for a lesbian and even a junkie. Her prose is wispy, light and airy, and her memories are wholesome, despite the fact that anyone who knows the history of that scene knows just how much death and self-immolation is happening just off screen. Patti Smith herself seems to have waltzed through it to my astonishment seemingly unscathed, and her writing dances along the edges of the darkness that her scene held.
The book is structured superbly well, it opens with the moment Smith hears of Mapplethorpe's death, then jumps back in time before they have met.
Smith discusses her teenage pregnancy and the process of giving her child up for adoption, her failure at teacher's school, and her time on a New Jersey assembly line in a brisk and somewhat sanitized fashion; again, there seems to be in her writing a distaste for discussions of the negative, of the hard and bleak moments of her life. From there, the book jumps forward to her first meeting with Mapplethorpe, their sweet and heartfelt romance which warms the heart so much, the little poverty-stricken life they build together, and how hard they worked to evolve their relationship with each other when their life trajectories began to diverge.
There is a poignant nostalgia throughout, and she comes across as a wholly likeable person, regardless of whether you like her music. A most poetic of memoirs. The only thing that kept me from scoring a five, is that she sometimes distracts from things, and I also would have liked to have seen a greater description of the physical aspect of New York, which must have been one hell of place to be caught up in at the time.
View all 16 comments. Her writing is deadpan and matter-of-fact; reading this book is like talking to some hoarse, hungover stranger in the kitchen after an all-weekend party, someone in an oversized T-shirt chain-drinking coffees, exhausted but full of mysteries to relate. She never overdoes it, but the easy colloquiality of her tone disguises a faultless understanding of where the focus of her memoir should lie — when to skip through several years within a paragraph, and when to lavish pages on a single mesmeric afternoon.
The time and place she is dealing with have passed into legend, and fortunately she is not averse to the pleasures of namedropping: At the table to my left, Janis Joplin was holding court with her band. At the last table facing the door was Jimi Hendrix, his head lowered, eating with his hat on, across from a blonde. Just another day at the Chelsea Hotel, circa …. I didn't know Mapplethorpe's work very well, associating him mainly with the all the controversial s black nudes, and it was strange encountering him through Patti Smith — he seems so unlike his image that for a while I was convinced I'd confused the name with someone else.
Her descriptions of their often-grim early days together are among her most evocative passages, and show off her direct sense of atmosphere to good effect. It was a terrible place, dark and neglected, with dusty windows that overlooked the noisy street. The springs of the ancient mattress poked through the stained sheet.
The place reeked of piss and exterminator fluid, the wallpaper peeling like dead skin in summer. There was no running water in the corroded sink, only occasional rusted droplets plopping through the night. Despite his illness, he wanted to make love, and perhaps our union was some comfort, for it drew out his sweat… I have to admit, I felt a little churlish about her obsession with him at the beginning of the book, having chiefly wanted a memoir of Patti Smith and not of Robert Mapplethorpe.
But that feels very ungracious as the book goes on and she convinces you of his importance to her. I was charmed by the sartorial nature of Smith's memory. Almost every scene is introduced by way of a run-down of what she was wearing at the time, and the details of her outfit are often much more vivid than any of the conversations; this is not reeled off in a label-conscious fashionista way, it's just clearly the way she sees the world.
And when she auditions guitarist Tom Verlaine, she almost treats it more as a test of wardrobe than of musical compatibility: Divining how to appeal to Tom's sensibilities, I dressed in a manner that I thought a boy from Delaware would understand: Patti Smith is — there's no getting away from the word — incredibly cool. It's hard to imagine that kids won't be longing for the same thing with her years after she's gone, and this raw and touching memoir of lates, earlys New York is, if nothing else, a beautiful gift to them.
View all 4 comments. Those who love music memoirs. Recommended to Iris P by: Just Kids should've been a perfect match and yet somehow I could never completely connect with the world and the lives of the people it chronicles. Don't get me wrong, Smith's wordsmith is gorgeous and she is a wonderful storyteller. Just Kids reads like an emotional elegy to Robert Mapplethorpe and a love letter to both him and the city of New York, which was at the time the indisputable mecca of the rock and punk movements.
Smith is sort of an oral curator as she recounts numerous encounters with an impressive group of artists, the city's rich cultural legacy and how she and Mapplethorpe became deeply ingrained in it. But throughout most of the narrative I had the sense that Smith seems to define herself and her claim to fame, in direct proportion to her proximity to other well-known artists. She and Mapplethorpe are never more than two or three degrees separated from the likes of Hendrix, Joplin, Warhol or Dylan. And she makes sure to remind us, over and over again. Her relationship with Mapplethorpe was complex and, at least from the outside, difficult to characterize.
But it's obvious that in spite of his sexuality and his very conflicted attitude about it, they seemed to have found in each other a true soul mate. Maybe this memoir would've had a bigger impact on me had this been the musical soundtrack of my youth. My impression is that I lack both the cultural context and perhaps the creative sensibility to fully appreciate the contributions made by these artists. Nevertheless, this was an interesting read as I learned quite a lot about a fascinating and influential artistic period. Finally, I suspect that it'd be difficult to replicate the cultural and social atmosphere that allowed Smith and Mapplethorpe to blossom as such iconic figures.
It's hard to imagine today's most prominent artists casually rubbing elbows like they did at the Chelsea Hotel back then. I think that's mostly a reflection of a more idealistic and innocent time in America. I read and simultaneously listened to the audio book, which I have to say is beautifully narrated by the author. View all 35 comments. Nov 22, Esil rated it really liked it Shelves: I didn't know much about Steinem, but her book made me see her in a whole new light -- not an icon, but a lovely dedicated generous person.
I had a similar experience listening to the audio of Patti Smith's Just Kids. I didn't know much about her, but certainly wasn't expecting to be so charmed by her. The memoir focuses on her early adult years. She moved to New York, developed a complicated relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and tried to figure out her place in the world. Rather than making herself sound heroic or tragic or dishing out tawdry gossip, she talks with great openness and generosity about her life, her family and her friends.
Much of what she describes is mundane, but she recounts it with so much appreciation for small moments in her life that it's hard not to fall in step with her lovely sensibility. In many ways, I didn't find it easy to connect with the way she lived -- pretty gritty at times -- or her relationship with Mapplethorpe -- but I loved seeing it all though Smith's eyes. It helps that Smith writes really well -- occasionally veering into prose closer to poetry -- stark, simple and expressive. It all made me feel like slowing down -- appreciating what's there -- my family, friends and surroundings.
A note on the audio: Smith narrates her own story. She has a slow droning voice. It really grew on me. You're going to love it or hate it. I gather the physical book has many photos. View all 26 comments. When I was in my early 20s, I was lucky to have William Burroughs as a friend and mentor. When I was with him and I asked him this question: He was talking about let your name radiate yourself. Magnify who you are.
Your coat of honor. And as you go through life your name will serve you. We might ask ourselves, what tools do we have? What can we count on? You can count on yourself. Believe me, your self is your best ally. You know who you are. Even when sometimes it becomes a little blurry and you make mistakes or [inaudible], just go deeper. You know the right thing to do. As the song goes, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again. Watch two young beings become who they are, two small rocks formed by icy water, grain by grain, layer by layer, sustained by an otherwordly faith in their own future.
As I devoured this book I couldn't put it down for three days , I couldn't help but think of this description of Jay Gatsby, which is at the heart of the American Character: This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the 'creative temperament'--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.
A romantic readiness such as we rarely get to experience today. A quintessential American love story. Oct 02, Darwin8u rated it it was amazing Shelves: The power of this memoir is the way Patti Smith works the words to create a canvas broad enough to catch both Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith "Nothing is finished until you see it. The power of this memoir is the way Patti Smith works the words to create a canvas broad enough to catch both Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith as they grow and flower. I knew their myth, but this book gave a greater glimpse into their relationship and the galaxy of their friends.
I never knew about her relationship with Sam Smith, Allen Lanier, etc. The book is a great exploration of friendship, love and art. It is also a great tribute to the role of mentors, art benefactors, work, hope, and no small amount of luck in the creation of great art. Feb 03, Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it really liked it Shelves: Smith writes with a poet's clear imagery and an economy of words all too rare in the memoir genre. Now, twenty years after his death, she has made good on that promise.
This is the story of a beautiful, complex, demanding and ever-evolving friendship between two young, hopeful, actively unconventional creatives. They alternated in the role of muse to each other as the Smith writes with a poet's clear imagery and an economy of words all too rare in the memoir genre. They were struggling to find their special niches and become accepted as artists. In this process they were often also struggling for simple survival. They frequently went hungry and had no place to sleep, all the while bolstering each other's resolve and refusing to give up their dreams.
I never really knew anything about Robert Mapplethorpe aside from a big flap in the 80s about how his work was offensive. Smith writes about him with such tenderness and honesty that I couldn't help weeping when she described his death as a result of AIDS. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend like Patti Smitha friend who could remember for us our youthful, most hopeful, most vulnerable selves and memorialize us so genuinely. This was very interesting though, how she met Mapplethorpe and how they got by in New York, their bohemian lifestyle, and the people who they spent time with.
I will make sure to listen to M Train in ! View all 25 comments. Jul 09, Madeline rated it really liked it Shelves: That pursuit is what burns most deeply. I got over the loss of his desk and chair, but never the desire to produce a string of words more precious than the emeralds of Cortes. Yet I have a lock of his hair, a handful of his ashes, a box of his letters, a goatskin tambourine. And in that folds of faded violet tissue a necklace, two violet plaques etched in Arabic, strung with black and silver threads, given to me by the boy who loved Michela "Why can't I write something that would awake the dead?
And in that folds of faded violet tissue a necklace, two violet plaques etched in Arabic, strung with black and silver threads, given to me by the boy who loved Michelangelo. Lately I've had a weird but insatiable urge to read memoirs by 's musicians. Not really sure - maybe I just need to re-watch Almost Famous. But for whatever reason, I had a particular literary itch to scratch, and only Patti Smith's memoir would do.
I had heard Gloria before reading this book, and I knew that Patti Smith was a musician. I had never heard of her lifetime friend and partner Robert Mapplethorpe, and most of the artists who get name-dropped in this book flew right over my head. For this reason, this memoir might as well have been pure fiction to me, since I had almost no frame of reference for anyone except the biggest names. But I think that, ultimately, this worked in my favor: And it's quite a story. She talks a lot about Rimbaud, and tries very hard to write like him.
Occasionally you find yourself rolling your eyes at her prose, but for the most part, her writing is quite lovely. This is, first and last, the story of a lifelong friendship. This is the story of people who sacrificed everything - home, family, comfort, security - in order to become artists. What makes it lovely is that you get the sense that becoming famous - at least, famous in the sense that most people would recognize - never even crossed Smith's mind.
She wanted, purely and simply, to devote her life to art. She was poor and homeless and miserable, but she was happy. A true starving-artist story, occasionally overwrought, but always compelling. Patti Smith is cooler than everyone you will ever meet. Feb 29, Duane rated it it was amazing Shelves: As he was dying Robert Mapplethorpe ask Patti Smith to write their story; "You have to he said, no one but you can write it".
After reading this book I can understand why he said that. No biographer, other than Patti, could know, let alone describe, the level of trust and dependence they shared; and their singular kind of love that, even after reading this, is hard for the reader to fully understand. What capable hands he left that project in, I'm not sure he even realized it, I'm not sure Patti As he was dying Robert Mapplethorpe ask Patti Smith to write their story; "You have to he said, no one but you can write it".
What capable hands he left that project in, I'm not sure he even realized it, I'm not sure Patti did at that point in her life. But write it she did, and what a magnificent result. I'm in awe of the talent and genius of this woman. She is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her music; she has received France's highest honor for her contribution to the arts for her drawings and photographs; but her greatest talent may be as a writer for the award winning books she has written, now a winner of the National Book Award for this memoir, Just Kids.
View all 5 comments. May 11, emily rated it did not like it. I didn't just hate this book. I cherished my hatred for this book. Drank deeply of my hatred. I didn't just find the writing clunky, I found it odd, troubled by an overfamiliar relationship with the passive voice lots of things "could be seen" , verbs no one ever god damn says anything; they discourse, spiel, spin, regale, blah blah blah , and prepositions why say "on" when you can add a syllable to get "upon"?
You know in the beginning of the movie "Labyrinth," when Jennifer Connelly is reading out loud from that book about the Goblin King? It sounds like that. I didn't just find Patti Smith kind of strange and off-putting in the way she explains that other people who were not as cool as she may have.
I found her or her portrayal of herself, which is not the same thing actively frustrating. I'm not sure if she intended, as a writer, for her and Mapplethorpe's pursuit of fame to sound so damn groupie-ish. Lots of tracking down someone who is famous and following him around. View all 12 comments.
There's more than sufficient foreshadowing. By my father's account, I arrived a long skinny thing with bronchial pneumonia, and he kept me alive by holding me over a steaming washtub. She switched careers when her children were young and became an award-winning photographer and author who has written nineteen books, including Just Kids from the Bronx. You get to hear the evolution of the Bronx from the rather segregated hamlets inhabited by the immigrants of the s and s working toward the American Dream, to the crumbling and burning realities of the s, to the up-and-coming borough it is today. She wanted, purely and simply, to devote her life to art.
Jan 28, Calista rated it it was amazing Shelves: I didn't know Patti Smith. I had seen some photos of Robert Mapplethorpes before. I didn't know they had this relationship. Patti Smith is a fantastic story teller. What a moment of providence when Robert walked up to her counter at the book store and bought that necklace. Also, when he ran into her after her bad date - this relationship was fate, a thing meant to happen. Two artist meeting in the night and forming a bond that both of them were supported by. I LOVE this book.
Patti's voice is so I didn't know Patti Smith. Patti's voice is so sure and guides the reader through sex, drugs, rock n roll and poetry and ARt. They lived a life of art, their lives were artful. The struggled and explored. I'm so glad I gave this book a read. It has spoken to the artist in myself. Aids took so many wonderful people. That is the saddest part is all the lost potential of that disease. Thank you Patti for sharing your life! It has touched mine. Feb 04, R. Gold rated it really liked it. I know it made me feel something, I know I have every intention of re-reading it, and I know many anecdotes from it will come up in casual conversation with my friends when I try to convince them to read it.
Still, I am not sure what the emotions are I feel when I think about it. There's obviously a feeling of loss and grief; not just for Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Wagstaff, but also for all the other artists, p oh go on, they're just kids I'm still trying to collect my thoughts about this book. There's obviously a feeling of loss and grief; not just for Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Wagstaff, but also for all the other artists, players, hustlers, and socialites in their circle who had tragic ends.
They were all walking the same cusp, brushing shoulders with some of the most influential musicians and artists of the sixties and seventies. So many people in this circle must've thought they were on their way to achieving their creative dreams, only to be mentioned later on in the novel to have taken their own life, died of an accidental overdose, or other unfortunate circumstances. There was also hope, and optimism, and a feeling that anything is possible. There was certainly some magic, both light and dark, that people flirted with, and in some cases became lost.
Personally, I felt the magic was strongest at the Chelsea hotel. There was humor, like Patti's first interaction with Allen Ginsberg, when he mistook her for a very pretty boy. And there were plenty of respects paid to the generations of the artists who laid the foundation for the next breakthrough.
One thought that kept coming back to me throughout this whole memoir, were just how much the times had changed. She spoke of living in NYC as an artist selling books and scraping by. She spoke of how far fifty cents could get her and even at her worst she and Robert knew they would find a way. It's sort of crazy to think that if she and Mapplethorpe were born today, or were in their twenties today, they could not have taken that journey to NYC or it would've been more complicated.
It almost felt like the spirits of the city back then were encouraging them to succeed and based on my very limited knowledge of NYC I don't know how well this journey could be replicated today. I loved this book, and I look forward to further digesting it in the coming days. Did anyone think Patti was "whitewashing" her past in this? I wore out my welcome buying up discarded books and lurking near the Did anyone think Patti was "whitewashing" her past in this?
I wore out my welcome buying up discarded books and lurking near the door hoping to nab the overdue offender in their tracks. Now I'm confused, discombobulated.. Another idol demasked or re-masked again. It makes me feel little mean hearted since Patti was my adolescent heroine. Although truth be told on reflection I didn't know zip about her private past, only shadowy images of her with Robert Mapplethorpe.
Mainly I knew her voice and her records, those I played over and over. Her poems in my original copy of "Seventh Heaven" was something sacred to me, some holy grail of truth if I could only decode the essence of, I could be like she, or something Maybe I have a wrong take on this but I feel she's sugar coated her early life with Mapplethorpe. I can't believe she was so naive.
Friends all around doing drugs and she being didn't know anything about drugs. At that time I was and knew more about the street than she purports to have known. My upbringing not that different or richer or poorer than hers. But she bangs on about how poor her and Robert were in the 70's in the book and I can't really come to grips with her take on things. Totally dispels any illusions she was all "sex drugs and rock and roll". I feel like she's writing this view of herself The early chapters alternate between her childhood and Roberts.
The mid-secton is where I have trouble as described above. She talks about her trip to Paris and Baudrillard's grave, and she was distanced like I've never felt her distanced in her music or poems. Is that Baudrillard's Simulacra? Something's slightly skewed here because I just didn't feel her passion in "Just Kids" - EXCEPT when she was talking about Mapplethorpe's art and death - I didn't get a sense of connection when she talked about her marriage either, it's censored and distanced also..
I think in truth it's not about her it's about Robert. The book is littered with wonderful images of Robert and of her taken by him. It's more his obituary. Sadder than I can say. Feb 18, christa rated it really liked it. I'll say this for Patti Smith: Homegirl certainly knows how to write lifestyle porn. Somewhere between the Chelsea Hotel and the insertion of a millionaire benefactor I closed her love letter to Robert Mapplethorpe, "Just Kids," bonked myself in the head and said "Knock it off.
Chuck it all, grab a blanket, commit percent I'll say this for Patti Smith: Chuck it all, grab a blanket, commit percent to making things. More than just teacher-school dropout Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethrope, a skinny kid on the lam from the Catholic church. Every day, maybe even right this second, a kid is climbing off a bus at some junction in New York City, schlepping a dirty military backpack filled with notebooks filled with poetry filled with nature imagery, A copy of Bob Dylan's "Chronicles" in his back pocket.
He's got two weeks worth of dinero in a two-toned teal velcro wallet and a breathlessness about doing "whatever it takes washing dishes cleaning toilets as long as I can write. He might, like Patti, find a street angel who will teach him about day-old bread and primo napping places in Central Park. He might get a job at a book store; move into an extended stay hotel full of eccentrics; become a regular at corner bar.
He might meet someone who is first his lover, then friend, muse and soul mate. He'll observe and jot and wait for a Warhol-ian figure to notice him, all while experimenting with couplets, then, perhaps free verse, then, perhaps starvation. Published in a zine. A promise for publication on a friend of a friend's website. Maybe he'll write a book about his soul mate and win a National Book Award. This is in progress right now and right now and even right now. The mere fact that we get to read this portrait of the s art scene from this particular perspective is that they both, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, busted through the wall of obscurity.
And the reason that this story is thrilling and exciting and tender and tugs at the soul and inspires wanderlust is because you know what was on the other side of that wall: So what's the difference between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe and [insert unknown artist's name here]. Is it still possible to be short on cash for a sandwich and have the equivalent of Allen Ginsberg foot the rest of the bill in a madcap case of gender confusion?
I can't figure that out. You can't just say talent: After reading Belinda Carlisle's memoir last year I realized that underneath the mounds of cocaine and the lipstick was a woman who couldn't play an instrument, didn't write songs, and really didn't know much about singing, who went on to front one of the iconic bands of the s. How did she get there: She hung out at the right clubs on the right West Hollywood street corners and was standing next to the right people when someone decided to start a girl group.
All I know is that reading "Just Kids" made me want to shed 15 years and ditch out for the big city with a dream journal and a change of socks. That's easy to say, so freshly seduced. This is one of those books that made me think I was born too late. Aug 17, Erik rated it it was amazing Shelves: It is difficult for me to think of an artist who illuminates pure positive affect in the way that Patti Smith does. For someone who always had a special place in his heart for Patti's "Horses" record, I can safely say there are moments where her music and her words have taken my mind and my heart to places I would have never imagined.
It is absolutely on fire. However, I have found that "Horses" is a rather polarizing record. People who are into rock and roll either like it or hate it. My brain chemistry gets perfectly locked into Patti's grooves, and I'm happy to know that I can revisit this amazing album throughout my life anytime I feel the need. My reading habits have changed a lot throughout the years, and I'm generally not a fan of biographies. However, I knew I would enjoy this one.
I was simply waiting for the right time to read it.
One of the many things that fascinates me about Patti Smith is that she was simply a naive and innocent child full of so much wonderful curiosity, a perpetual outsider who had no misgivings over the fact that life would be an uphill battle. Unlike many artists whose early lives were subject to torment and desperation, Patti came from a humble and loving home.
Patti was not abused by her family, she actually spoke very tenderly of her parents and siblings , nor did she express any excessive disdain towards those she encountered during her early struggles, not even towards her factory coworkers who dehumanized her; thus providing the impetus for her song, "Piss Factory," nor the prying and judgmental eyes during her teenage pregnancy. And even though she arrived in New York homeless and hungry and would generally fare no better until the latter end of the '70s, Patti's enthusiasm and diligence completely outshined her hardships.
Patti was in love with life. She was intoxicated with the freedom that came with being a young artist in a city of the world; finding inspiration and friendship during the unlikeliest moments, and holding onto these moments until they became the core of her being. One of the things I adore most about Patti Smith is her ability to live simultaneously inside her own head, completely losing herself within a sanctimonious inner world of books, dead poets, and philosophers, while also living very much in the moment.
All of her encounters with '60s rockers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Grace Slick, along with her introductions to future celebrity artists, like Jim Carroll, Sam Shepard, and Tom Verlaine among many others, excited her, energized her, and gave her a great sense of fortune. She never took any of these encounters for granted and she continues to keep these people close to her heart to this day. Patti also never denied nor shied away from the influence of those who came before her, particularly Jim Morrison and Arthur Rimbaud.
I particularly enjoyed the passage in the book where she visited both of these young men's graves in Paris. The only thing I haven't mentioned yet is Patti's friendship to Robert Mapplethorpe. What a sweet, sweet thing. Their bond was beyond friendship, beyond physical love. These two were soulmates in the classic sense. Robert and Patti completed one another, challenged one another, and guided one another throughout every course in their lives.
Even her descriptions of their simplest outings and everyday musings came across as life-changing journeys. She pulls this off without being overly dramatic or grandiose because the love these two had for one another was complete, endless, and beautiful, and it was perfectly captured in this book.
I was a little surprised that Patti didn't delve more into the lives of her bandmates, her children, or her husband, the late, great Fred "Sonic" Smith. But then again, as she firmly stated, this was she and Robert's story, and she promised him that one day she would write it and share it with the world.
That's precisely what she has done, and I'm very thankful for her doing so. This book was a glorious experience for me. Summer Book Part One. Just Kids, by Patti Smith 3 58 Mar 31, Videos About This Book. She gained recognition in the s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has released twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Smith had her first exhibit of drawings at the Gotham Book Mart in and has been represented by the Robert Miller Gallery since She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Smith married the musician Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit in They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse.
Smith resides in New York City. Books by Patti Smith. Trivia About Just Kids. Quotes from Just Kids. What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I felt blessed to have read this special account. I received this book from the Goodreads. Thank you so much to Arlene Alda for authoring this important book. Henry Holt and Company is the publisher. Jan 09, Nan rated it really liked it Shelves: It was inspiring to read how those coming from challenging upbringings can succeed.
This was a First Read selection that I will be sharing. This oral history of people that grew up in the Bronx is an absolute masterpiece! A beautiful tribute to the Bronx. Jun 05, Kari rated it really liked it. Honest and often humorous accounts of growing up in The Bronx, written by a variety of people. Jun 27, Amy rated it really liked it Shelves: He was a child star on vaudeville, and later in the silent movies. Played stickball on the street, and broke his leg one day when he slipped because he was wearing new leather shoes.
Went to Townsend, and graduated City College at the ripe old age of In , when he went for his interview for Medical School, he looked so young that the dean at Long Island School of Medicine told him to "come back when you're wearing My dad grew up in the Bronx, initially on Hoe Ave then later in Grand Ave. In , when he went for his interview for Medical School, he looked so young that the dean at Long Island School of Medicine told him to "come back when you're wearing long pants. He also fell in love with a girl from another country, one called "Brooklyn".
He was afraid to tell his folks he was dating a girl from so far away, and when he got home late from seeing her safely home, would to tell them he'd fallen asleep on the subway, and missed is stop. Most of my memories from childhood visits to New York center on the more boisterous Brooklyn clan.
My father's family was wounded, and we spent much less time there. I've been going through old papers of my dad's and wanted to find out more about his world, so picked up this book. It's a good collection of oral histories, progressing from people born in my father's era to the 's. I was more drawn to the earlier ones, and wished my dad, who died in , could have been around to contribute.
This is my life. You don't choose art. This is my commitment and I've never deviated from that. Milton Glaser in "Just Kids from the Bronx: Feb 25, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: Definitely a mixed bag as all oral history books tend to be. My three favorite parts were comedian Robert Klein who was one of the few who said he hated living in the Bronx and has a collection of books with photos of the Bronx when it was farmland.
Chaz Palminteri who talked about the importance of parents and how he still supports his old neighborhood by going back once a month to by food from the locally owned businesses. My favorite stories are from Rick Meyerowitz. First, about how his fath Definitely a mixed bag as all oral history books tend to be.
First, about how his father used to teach him how to tell the difference between a Brooklyn and Bronx accent I'm gonna moider da bum! I'm gonna muhdah da bum! Then once TV and AC came along families stayed inside and watched TV and neighbors never got to know each other anymore. Oct 30, Angela Reese rated it it was amazing. I received this as a Goodreads Book Giveaway and thank them for the opportunity to read it. I enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end. I am not from the Bronx but from the North End Italian section of Boston and many of the stories reminded me of my hometown.
I enjoyed these stories so much that I am rereading the book and have recommended it to many people. It is amazing that there are so many famous people from the Bronx! Arlene Alda has the interviews of 65 people from the Bronx. Th I received this as a Goodreads Book Giveaway and thank them for the opportunity to read it. These people are very successful in various occupations tellof having met people who have given them wonderful opportunities to find their dreams.
The interviews are placed in chronological order and you can see the change in the ethical culture as time goes on. In each of these stories there exudes a sense of love of their origins and the camaraderie that they felt for their families, friends and even the block they lived on. I definitely recommend this book. Oct 07, kate rated it it was amazing. If you are from The Bronx you gotta love this book. I'm a Fordham Road gal myself. Who wouldn't like growing up in a neighborhood where you had the Bronx Zoo and Botanical gardens as local parks. You could hang out at the Edgar Allen Poe tiny cottage until the parky chased you out.
You could play tennis at St James park. Though I personally never knew anyone who would. Who were those people? We did go to the roller rink across the street though. We walked all over and had a freedom the kids toda If you are from The Bronx you gotta love this book. We walked all over and had a freedom the kids today can't even imagine. Don't get me started on the food. It was an international smorgasbord.
The best Italian food, Jewish deli, Chinese food, Greek diners, and bakeries from everywhere. And mom still had dinner on the table even if she worked all day. Thanks Arlene for this trip down memory lane. I really enjoyed it. Sep 23, Oliviaolivia rated it really liked it. I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway.
Overall I really enjoyed this anthology of personal stories about the Bronx. It shows a very diverse array of people; in family situations, ethnicities , time periods, and career paths. I did feel like some of the stories rambled off topic or just were generally too long and could have been edited better. That being said I would totally recommend this book if you enjoy reading about different peoples childhoods or of course about the Bronx. Apr 13, Cherie Kephart rated it liked it. Just Kids from the Bronx is an interesting compilation of oral accounts from a select group of people who are from the Bronx.
Sometimes funny, sometime tragic, sometimes inspiring, we are granted a slice of insight into many childhoods, many beginnings, many perceptions, and many reflections of how their journeys evolved from this dynamic New York borough. Aug 23, Norma Bosley rated it liked it. It was an interesting book, full of tales about growing up in the Bronx. I think the different writers added their unique flavor to the overall book, but some entries were difficult to get through, because of said writing.
I did finish the book, and learned much about the people some famous that I never knew. Dec 06, Pghbekka rated it really liked it. Highly enjoyable as an audiobook - mostly read by Alan and Arlene Alda, with other guests as well. Nov 01, Christina Mitchell rated it liked it. I bought this book because Arlene and Alan Alda were in my neighborhood as part of an annual Jewish book festival. In full disclosure, I have been deeply in love with Alan Alda since I was seven years old. So, there's was no doubt when I heard the Alda's were scheduled to speak that I wouldn't immediately buy my ticket and show up at the venue two hours early so I could get a front row seat.
Let me begin by reiterating that I continue to be deeply in love with Mr. Pe I bought this book because Arlene and Alan Alda were in my neighborhood as part of an annual Jewish book festival. People do not understand my attraction, but they do not have to. Never did I see him or read about him being arrogant or rude, but rather he was always engaged, motivated, and kind.
AND, he has remained in love and married to the same woman for over 50 years having met Arlene when they were both in their early 20s. That is the kind of man for me. I've read his books and seen most, if not all, of his movies. Nearly in his 80s, he remains to me one of the sexiest men alive. So, take that Mrs. I stick my tongue out at you! I am thrilled I finally got the opportunity to see Mr. Alda and his brilliantly talented wife, Arlene Alda, in person. Alda is an accomplished musician, educator, and now, author. The book does not do justice to the delight she has in this collection of stories.
To hear her speak about her interviews with these kids from the Bronx, you knew she had a sincere affinity for the tales they shared with her. All the stories in the book are the exact words of the interviewees. Alda did the editing to form the coherent, lively, memorable vignettes. This project took her four years.
The book begins with those of her generation extending to the generation of the 21st century. You get to hear the evolution of the Bronx from the rather segregated hamlets inhabited by the immigrants of the s and s working toward the American Dream, to the crumbling and burning realities of the s, to the up-and-coming borough it is today.
She did a beautiful job. However, I am going to recommend that if you have the opportunity, the best way to experience the book is in a live session with Mrs. The audio book may I hope give you a similar experience. Alda as a tempo to the way she tells these stories about her beloved Bronx. She continues the same delight in reiteration of the book's tales you've no doubt she had the first time hearing the lives and anecdotes of the various individuals included in her volume who I'm confident are now her friends.
If you get lucky enough to see Mrs. Alda being interviewed about her book by her husband, all the better. Alda is sincerely interested in his wife's work and questions her authentically. At the event I attended, the Alda's were asked how they met. I'll let you ask them for yourselves you'll love the story, trust me ; however, they concluded their story saying, "And, a great friendship was born.
They make a wonderful team. May 28, Chris rated it really liked it Shelves: The Bronx is a unique place in NYC that many amazing people grew up in. This book brings together their life stories to show what kinds of things each person experienced there as a kid. For anyone that grew up there the stories will bring back many many memories of certain buildings, parks, and streets where so much took place.
The reason I picked up this book was because I just love the idea of being able to grow up in a city that is so big yet so small at the same time. Many people returned to where they grew up because everything they needed was right there. It is crazy to think about how much stuff was free that helped kids find out who they wanted to be when they grew up. The Bronx zoo was free on certain days and so that is when everyone would go and because of that so many kids got to learn about animals and their eco systems they lived in.
It inspired a few to go and study animals later on. The stories that struck a cord with me were the people who talked about the teachers that went out of their way to help them in life. Today, because of the troublesome helicopter parents, teachers are not really allowed to help students today and because of that students are left to suffer in the public education system that we have today. There is one person who, because of their father's sickness and love for baseball had a teacher that took him, along with a few other kids keep in mind all in middle school to major baseball games.
Another person talked about how this one teacher saw their potential in 6th grade and took it upon themselves to take them literally walked them across the street to better schools and enrolled them and because of that action, which would not be allowed today, enabled them to go on to Harvard and Harvard Business school. What does that tell you about the rules today in schools? If you want to relive your time growing up there then this is a book for you to sit down and enjoy. The many lives the Bronx touched inspired so many talented people to share their gifts with the world.
Dec 27, Book rated it it was amazing Shelves: And for Arlene Alda The Bronx is home. There are many known figures from past and present connected to The Bronx, the world of literature, movies, sports, politics and science have been marked by people who made first steps in The Bronx, who learned to survive in that special environment that eventually lead them to the top.
Feb 22, Kristin rated it liked it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked listening to the tidbits of each interviewed person's life. Some had positive experiences, some negative and some a mix, so it helped to develop a balanced look at the Bronx and how it influenced these people and their future success. It painted an interesting picture of different times and areas, and I was most interested in the positive views many of the subjects who immigrated here in the early twentieth century, living in tenements but appreciatin Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
It painted an interesting picture of different times and areas, and I was most interested in the positive views many of the subjects who immigrated here in the early twentieth century, living in tenements but appreciating their opportunities and going on to succeed in a variety of different professions. Part of the lower rating for me was listening to it, which is basically my own fault; if I read it it'd be closer to a four, so I guess it's probably a 3.
I probably missed some parts of names and their importance and didn't get to search their names for further research, which I would've if I had read it; I think some of the details might have stuck better. Additionally, while she was the author and put this whole project together, Arlene Alda's voice was a bit grating; I wish they saved her for her section only instead of others'. The other female reader was good and Alan Alda did a fabulous job.
Oct 08, Lori rated it really liked it Shelves: I found this to be a fun an interesting read. I have heard a lot of the five boroughs in New York city area. This one focuses on The Bronx. Arlene Alda, wrote an informational book interviewing a lot of people who grew up in the Bronx.