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Just Kids

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message 1: by sal (new) - rated it 4 stars

sal Just published who? Oh yes, Patti Smith! I was really more interested in her relationship with photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. I presupposed her as an, uneducated, blue collar, drop out 60's wannabe. But,Just Kids is a pleasant surprise! It is very well written, thoughtful and a provocative page turner. Who knew...?


Rachel Why did you presuppose that about her?


☯Emily  Ginder Awful, awful book. Worst book read in 2011, 2010, 2009, etc. Mostly name dropping of people who later dropped dead!


Matthew Actually she was just writing about what was around her. For those who have no idea about New York, pre-1990s, there was a scene that stemmed from Max's 60s scene and later evolved into the CBGB crowd and eventually No Wave. The lower east side and Chelsea scenes were the hang outs for many a name which are now famous but which were then neighborhood personalities. So if it seems she was name dropping that was probably why.


Sabra Fiala I really liked this book. Bittersweet quick read that left me with wanting to learn more about the people, places, art, and music referenced throughout the book.


message 6: by Tara (last edited May 03, 2012 12:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Blair Think that it was a telling piece written to explain her time in New York City and her journey throughout the city, the time period and her relationships. As a person of a younger generation, I was enthralled and enjoyed her writing style.

Perhaps if you are looking for something more conducive current times and issues based in the city of NY, you might be interested in reading "Henny on the Couch" by Rebecca Land Soodak. It's a debut novel based on the life of a mother, artist, friend, and business woman in NYC. I cried, laughed, and finally kicked my reading rut. Henny on the Couch by Rebecca Land Soodak


Sabra Fiala That's great! Thanks for the recommendation Tara!


Richard This is a wonderful and thoughtfully written love note.


message 9: by Mejix (last edited May 19, 2012 08:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mejix After reading the book and seeing her in interviews I can see why people like Patti Smith. Beautiful crazy gal. Nice person. As long as I don't have to hear her music I'm fine.


Heather Fineisen Sabra wrote: "I really liked this book. Bittersweet quick read that left me with wanting to learn more about the people, places, art, and music referenced throughout the book."

This book makes my favorites list. I knew very little about Patti Smith, and what little I did was not accurate. This book introduced me to her other writings, most recently Woolgatherings. Glad I read it and had another world opened to me!


Joseph Pfeffer Patti Smith is a lot like Elizabeth Gilbert: a talented writer able to evoke romantic scenes, limited by her self-absorption.


Jessica I really enjoyed this book and fortunately read it just before we went on holiday to New York. What's happened to the Chelsea Hotel though? It's under new ownership or something like that and all that history has gone! Very dissappointing (hotel not book).


Fallopia Yeah, I regret that I never got to even go inside the Chelsea before they "renovated" (read: desecrated) it; a friend of mine actually had a suite and ran a "games night" to pay for it back in the 80s and 90s. Her business by day was printing casino cloths and stamping clay chips; her friends would get together at the Chelsea and gamble for money by night. A good time was had by all.


Terri Mejix wrote: "After reading the book and seeing her in interviews I can see why people like Patti Smith. Beautiful crazy gal. Nice person. As long as I don't have to hear her music I'm fine."

I want to like her music because she is such an interesting person and her music is about very esoteric and interesting things.


Terri Terri wrote: "Mejix wrote: "After reading the book and seeing her in interviews I can see why people like Patti Smith. Beautiful crazy gal. Nice person. As long as I don't have to hear her music I'm fine."

I wa..."


But I just don't.


Joseph Pfeffer Tara wrote: "Think that it was a telling piece written to explain her time in New York City and her journey throughout the city, the time period and her relationships. As a person of a younger generation, I was..."

Sounds good. Thanks.


Matthew Just for the record, if you don't dig Pattie Smith's music, you won't understand where she is coming from or the time the music itself came out of, or NYC for that matter. I don't want to sound like an ass but it's just the truth. Read or watch films on Punk and No Wave and you may just start to understand.


Steve Love her. Loved her book and will always love her music.


message 19: by Kulber (new) - added it

Kulber This is a great book! I'm excited for the sequel.


Sandra Steve wrote: "Love her. Loved her book and will always love her music."

Ditto.


Erica I think people who feel as though she is name dropping or "self-absorbed" forget a couple of key things. She WAS in NYC during a most amazing era and the people around her were Warhol, Burroughs, etc. Further she was (is) an artist and to be an artist is to be absorbed in yourself, the world, the people and your environment. You vibe off these things to inspire you to create. The act of creation is in itself selfish in many ways but that doesn't mean she is some talentless, name-dropping hack. This was her life, her people and her surroundings...should she only refer to people with initials or pretend that she was not surrounded by amazing creative people? What story should she have written? The reason that this book resonates is because she is a voice who lived in this place and with these people. Her perspective is as valuable as any other. Further the care with which she writes about her relationship with Mapplethorpe is beautiful and that resonates with anyone who has loved and been loved even if ultimately it ended in tragedy.


message 22: by Jeffrey (last edited Jun 18, 2012 08:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Fennelly Joe wrote: "Patti Smith is a lot like Elizabeth Gilbert: a talented writer able to evoke romantic scenes, limited by her self-absorption."
While not fully equipped to compare Ms. Smith to Elizabeth Gilbert, whose book I had to resist throwing across the room when she described herself, at the end of Chapter One, as "literally a puddle" of tears on her bathroom floor ("Literally"? Lazy, careless writing, at best). But I have to agree that Ms. Smith's self-absorption dulls the punch of this otherwise compelling memoir.


Susan The same criticism of name-dropping is often leveled at Joan Didion as well (author of Blue Nights, The Year Of Magical Thinking). I think we do instinctively feel repulsed by name dropping, yet, as Erica points out, these are the people she was socializing with. So I guess we need to look at the way in which those names are incorporated into the story. If the name is fleshed out into a personality who has an impact on the thoughts and actions of the protagonist then it is well done. I think Patti Smith does a good job of avoiding that pitfall. I would be interested to see what people thought of Didion on that subject.


message 24: by C (new) - rated it 4 stars

C I don't listen to her music but wanted to read her book. It was very interesting and overall a really great read. I know the era she was talking about because I read about other artists from that time.


Sandra There's a big difference between name-dropping in the gee-I-sat-next-to-so-and-so-at-the-home-of-such-and-such-and-it-was-so-fab-because-he's-famous-and-all-and-aren't-you-impressed-too-?-sense and accounts from people who lived the life that people you may have heard of passed through.
Joan Didion and Patti Smith don't drop names. They write history.


☯Emily  Ginder What did Patti Smith do with all the people whose names she dropped? She wasn't famous at that time and most of them dropped dead soon after she met them. She was definitely dropping names in the definition you gave!


Erica I think Sandra's definition is spot on.

Patti Smith does not need to impress any of us. She lived it-Hung out with-Created with-was influenced by, all of the people she mentions in her book; who happened to be the people living and working around her at the time. (who also happened to be famous or working on fame. Many of the people you think she is name-dropping were not as legendary then as they are now).


message 28: by CD (new) - rated it 4 stars

CD Just Kids on its own terms (see dust jacket) is a true fable of a prelude to fame.

The era in the book is the last vestiges of the old counter-culture as it evolved into what would explosively become the Punk movement and New Wave.

Patti Smith was more famous than she gives herself credit for being. A lot of people knew who she was, but what she was known for then wasn't the rock poet performer she would become shortly after the time of the main story line of the book.

One point that is dramatically underplayed by Smith is the University of the Chelsea Hotel. You didn't get to live there just 'because'. You damn well better have demonstrated talent plus keep it up, or scads of currency. And currency wasn't just money!

Probably as important as anything this book is also the missing chapter in the life of Robert Mapplethorpe as it could only be told first hand by someone who is still alive who was there. His star is unquestioned and his talent was so vibrant that there was no doubt in looking at his earliest known or readily available work that this was a shooting star!

Those who are worried or think they put off by name dropping and self absorption on the part of the author, repeat after me,

"This is a memoir and autobiography.
It is about a specific time in the life of the author.
The book therefore contains references to the people she met,
lived with, worked with and partied with.
They happened to become famous, many posthumously more so
than in life.
The author, Patti Smith, has cultural, historic, and artistic
merit equivalent to any body she mentions in the book."

Questions?


Steve CD wrote: "Just Kids on its own terms (see dust jacket) is a true fable of a prelude to fame.

The era in the book is the last vestiges of the old counter-culture as it evolved into what would explosively be..."


Well said


Erica CD wrote: "Just Kids on its own terms (see dust jacket) is a true fable of a prelude to fame.

The era in the book is the last vestiges of the old counter-culture as it evolved into what would explosively be..."



bingo....


message 31: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Matthew wrote: "Just for the record, if you don't dig Pattie Smith's music, you won't understand where she is coming from or the time the music itself came out of, or NYC for that matter. I don't want to sound lik..."

Just going to say, this comes off as a little pretentious to me. I read "Just Kids" on a friend's recommendation and enjoyed it immensely, having also never listened to an album by Patti Smith. She's discussing the creation of art, living an artist lifestyle in NYC at a time when there were many greats milling about. I'm not sure how having to like her music would become a deciding factor in the enjoyment, or worse the understanding, of this book. I'll venture to say if there's any interest in art, writing, music that came out of that era (or just art, writing, music in general), the book has something to offer you and something that you can "get".


Terri Mike wrote: "Matthew wrote: "Just for the record, if you don't dig Pattie Smith's music, you won't understand where she is coming from or the time the music itself came out of, or NYC for that matter. I don't w..."

Thank you, Mike!


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Emily wrote: "Awful, awful book. Worst book read in 2011, 2010, 2009, etc. Mostly name dropping of people who later dropped dead!"


I picked this book for my book club and hardly anyone knew who Patti Smith was (okay the older members did) and it was a hit. Everyone enjoyed it and found something in to relate to. This was one of my favourite books that I've read so far this year. I hope she keeps writing.


message 34: by Ele (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ele Great, so great. At first I was shocked because all her movements and decisions about life were crazy, but it's Patti Smith.
I'd recommend it to everyone, it's so easy-reading (it took me just 2 or 3 weeks, 1 hour per day) and at the end you become more excited about doing crazy things in your life. Well, that's what I see.


message 35: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy I read this book because I wanted to find out about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and I wish she'd written more on that. The descriptions of her dalliances with all those 1960s Pop Culture icons didn't interest me at all. And I can't remember reading a memoir in which the writer spent so much time describing what she was wearing at any given time.


message 36: by Mauberley (new) - added it

Mauberley I think that I saw somewhere that according to Patty Smith herself, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison were supposed to play her and Mapplethorpe in a film version. Not sure why there needs to be a film version at all but the casting is certainly intriguing.


LindaJ^ Richard wrote: "This is a wonderful and thoughtfully written love note."

well said


Nancy Bevilaqua Mauberley wrote: "I think that I saw somewhere that according to Patty Smith herself, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison were supposed to play her and Mapplethorpe in a film version. Not sure why there needs to be ..."

Are you serious?! Can someone PLEASE keep Kristen Stewart, and her perpetually open mouth, OUT of films about my idols (the other idol I'm referring to being Kerouac)?

I have loved Patti, AND her music, since I was in college in the early '80's. (How can you not love a woman who comes up with a line like, "I put my hand/inside his cranium"?) I still think she's wonderful, and I've gotten to see her perform several times (there's also a great documentary about her, but I don't recall its title at the moment). I think that she's brilliant and creative and always very real, and she's an artist who actually cares about people and what's happening in the world. But I do admit to having felt the same thing about the "name-dropping", to some extent. On the other hand--as others here have said--it's not her fault that she actually hung out with all of those people back in the day when New York was the place to be (and affordable) for artists who lived outside of the dull boundaries of convention.

What's happened to the Chelsea?! The last time I was actually inside of it was 1990 or so, when I was visiting a client of mine who had AIDS (a very sweet, very pretty, female stripper). Has that been sanitized/Disneyfied a la Times Square too?


Fallopia I refuse to see The Basketball Diaries because seeing Leo DiCraprio playing Jim Carroll would ruin it for me.


Nancy Bevilaqua I don't mind Leonardo, but I understand what you mean. It would be hard to find someone to play Jim Carroll, unless it was Jim Carroll--but, unfortunately, he's now one of the people who...

(No disrespect intended there. I loved his songs--especially "Jody"--and his poems, and I even got to see him at the St. Mark's church New Year's Even poetry reading once, a million years ago.)

Still, Kristen Steward playing Patti would be nothing short of sacrilege.


Steve I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant and Jim Carrol.


Alicia she is not name dropping..she is sharing her life...
she grew up in a time & place where she found the bravery to skip out on what could have been a boring life..........because her love of literature & art & rock & roll gave her that courage.......
this is an excellent read & not just because I adore Patti Smith but because she is a true artist...someone in my Jack Kerouac and/or Beat Group said that Patti Smith truly fit the definition..................
best stolen line from 'just kids' ?
" AESTHETIC THIEVES " ~ page 50


LindaJ^ Patti Smith has done us a real service. Just Kids is a true period piece, telling what it was like to live as a young, struggling artist in NYC in the late 60's/earlly 70's. She reports what it was like for her with the advantage of the years she has lived since then. It is a bonus to learn the story of young Robert Mapplethorp as well. Thank you Patti Simth for the glimpse of the reality of that time.


Alicia Linda wrote: "Patti Smith has done us a real service. Just Kids is a true period piece, telling what it was like to live as a young, struggling artist in NYC in the late 60's/earlly 70's. She reports what it w..."

exactly Linda Exactly!!~~


Croatoan616 Alicia wrote: "she is not name dropping..she is sharing her life...
she grew up in a time & place where she found the bravery to skip out on what could have been a boring life..........because her love of literat..."
Completely agree with you, it was a truly inspiring and enjoyable read!


message 46: by Alicia (last edited Aug 03, 2013 10:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alicia Winered200~"Completely agree with you, it was a truly inspiring and enjoyable read! "

wasn't it?
~ at the height of the fullblown press about her & the PSG ~she went on "kids are people too" some of us remember that show, when we were teens, and she sang the song that she says filled her w/hope & inspiration..what was that song?~~
"you light up my life" by Debbie Boone
she even sang it in concert ..........she spills these names because they meant something to her ~they are a huge part of who she is ............the meeting w/bob Dylan & the photos of their conversation on the staircase at Allen Ginsberg's Greenwich digs, that is not name dropping that is living your life w/curiousity at 100 MPH ~~ she is a hero of mine ..& opened my heart to be as daring as all get out & so far it has served me well.......
everyone should read her book & just read w/out pre supposing all the whys & hows............read about the lives that touched her's............... she is just amazing......


Croatoan616 You seem to love Patti's stories as much as I do!
Well, of course it's a part of her life story to talk about the people she met. Just because they are successful does not mean you shouldn't mention them because if you do, you're a name dropper. Utter shite, if you ask me. And just like you said: ''she spills these names because they meant something to her.''
It's a story about her life which I find hard to question, because it's so honest and sincerely written. And yes, she IS amazing! I almost saw her live once, but sadly something got in the way from that happening.. Cheers, Alicia!


Alicia Winered200 wrote: "You seem to love Patti's stories as much as I do! .."

Oh I know ... I think a lot of my Patti Love has to do w/her real sincerity........
she isn't afraid to say what she thinks about who
she finds to be a genius or just plain neat......
who would dare to say they wanted to be on the Johnny carson show & charm him?
who else gets a art show in Cincinnati called "the coral sea" that runs til November of this year 2013
Patti does........
She & Bob Dylan & my oldest brother introduced me to Arthur Rimbaud...
people that can do this w/out doing anything but exposing you to something you may not otherwise have learned as a teen ~~ really are pretty neat....
Thank you Wine Red 200 ~~ have a wonderful August ....
PS she is an honorary member in spirit of
"The Arthur Rimbaud Appreciation Society" Group on Facebook.....~~


message 49: by Kyle (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kyle I think Patti Smith is a smart and beautiful writer and I LOVE this book. One of my favorites.


Jason Landry Thought this was a well written and honest look at the intimate friendship of two artists. I highly recommend it.


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