Just Kids by Patti Smith (free download), Winner of the 2010 Non-Fiction National Book Award, Patti Smith’s definitive memoir: an evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe.
In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, Scribner’s Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol’s Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years–the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.
Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.
‘The most beautiful, incredible autobiography – it will make you ache for a time and a place that you probably never knew, New York in the 1970s’ * Nick Hornby * ‘A sharp, elegiac and finely crafted tribute to their childlike, pre-fame romance, set against the thrilling back drop of New York’s countercultural blast’ * Sunday Times * ‘Terrifically evocative … The most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and ’70s that any alumnus has committed to print’ * New York Times * ‘A tender, harrowing, often hilarious portrait of young lovers forging their paths in an eccentric milieu of Beat poets, Warhol socialites, and transvestites, rock stars and artists … Much has been written about that time, but Just Kids offers new insight’ * Vogue *.
Patti Smith is a writer, performer and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s 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 1973 and has been represented by the Robert Miller Gallery since 1978. Her books include Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award in 2010, Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, and Auguries of Innocence. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honour given to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Smith married Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit in 1980. They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse. Smith resides in New York City.