Sunday, January 10, 2010

Patti Smith: "Just Kids"

Just Kids Just Kids by Patti Smith


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Superb memoir by an iconic figure. I would rate this highly with Bob Dylan's excellent memoir. Patti Smith focuses on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 60's and early to mid 70's - just before she made her first album "Horses."

Again, it is not always the narrative that pulls you through, but the writing itself, and Smith is a fantastic writer. Also life in the Chelsea Hotel really comes to life in her hands. I can smell the front entrance just by her writing of the location, time, and the essence of 7th Ave and West 23rd Street. This is also a beautiful
portrait of Manhattan in its last grasp of importance to American culture - which I believe is the re-birth of punk rock and the budding start of hip-hop.

I don't think Patti Smith likes to think of herself as a rock n' roll writer for say, but nevertheless she is part of a generation of artists who came from the music world and have merged into literature with no push or pain. Dylan of course comes to mind, but also Richard Hell's novels are fantastic as well. Not only is this a classic rock n' roll memoir of sorts, but it is without the image of rock - and this is a classic piece of work that I think will be seen as a great American memoir.

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