Liana's Reviews > Just Kids

Just Kids by Patti Smith
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's review
Feb 06, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, bio

She was a humble jack in the kingdom of New York's bygone era. Patti Smith--a free spirit alight in New York's golden years of pure art, unadulterated creation and madness. I truly adore this book.

It is utterly awe-inspiring to realize how many of these lives intertwined with hers. And it is utterly sobering to realize how many of those lives have led to demise and have turned to legends. She rubbed elbows with so many famous or infamous artists and personalities of the time that one needs a social dictionary to envision all the characters in her book. made me so jealous!

By the time I was born, the tapestry of stars so vibrant in her book had already been terribly faded. Many of these luminaries are lost now, numbers still dwindling, a terribly fragile generation of Beats, folk artists, rock stars, painters, party people, et al. It kills me that I'll never see the same establishments she saw, either demolished or changed beyond recognition, most of which will remain unknown to the collective memory of my generation. But since her narrative and attention to detail was so clear, I was there in a way. Just Kids is a beautiful treasury of two young artists' New York adventures. Different from Woody Allen's New York, from Rockefeller's New York, from Carrie Bradshaw's New York, from Warhol's New York, from Fievel's New York, lol.

In a few of my favorite passages, she would discourse on the hippie things she did, listening to hippie music, having hippie jobs, making hippie food (couscous with anchovies and raisins, lettuce soup), hippie chores (mopping the floor with boiled eucalyptus), hippie clothes (which I envy), punk seeds all the while taking root. All of this was fun and interesting to read and endeared me to her more.

And then there was her tender friendship with Robert. If only I could write of my own friends so well.

Hers is the kind of cool not acquired by studying a pose but by making a deep connection and understanding of what artistry is--by knowing it inherently as if it was second nature to know the history of all these places, all these people, all this art. It is a cool that cannot be taught.

This book deserves its award. It is as much a national treasure as it is a poignant, deeply affecting memoir. Really, really well done.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2011 – Started Reading
February 6, 2011 – Shelved
February 6, 2011 –
page 47
February 14, 2011 –
page 123
February 18, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 2, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: bio

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Terri (new)

Terri WOW! You actually get it! I like her story and must read the book (did all of those "hippie" things. Its NOT about consumerism or commercialism, but is about ART. I doubt if very many in your generation can appreciate the difference.
I'm reading Freedom by Fransen right now. I ordered Sunset Park and will look for this too.
Thanks for your beautifully written critique...

Liana Aww, shucks. Thank you. :) I saw her interview on Charlie Rose and the very next day I checked it out from the library. She's a very inspiring lady.

I've been wanting to read Freedom also, but I would like to read The Corrections by him first. It's all a matter of plowing through all the other books I have on my list.

message 3: by Terri (new)

Terri I read Corrections already. Stick it out-you read 560 pages before the payoff!

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