Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Her seminal album Horses, bearing Robert Mapplethorpe's renowned photograph, hasbeen hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time. Her books include M Train, Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, and Auguries of Innocence.
In her music, Patti Smith transformed rock 'n' roll into a kind of electric poetry, spoken word energized by the jolt and rumble of guitars and drums. It should be no surprise, then, that in narrating her memoir of her intimate friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, she turns in a performance that approaches art. Words bob and weave as if set to music, and Smith transforms her prose into a series of entrancing sounds-as interesting for their rhythms as their meaning. Using shifts in cadence and pregnant pauses, she allows silence to convey as much as words. Even phrases that clanged on the page sound perfect when Smith reads them herself. She writes of her youth and young womanhood, and something of those long-gone days emerges in the tone of her voice. The listener can hear traces of Smith's New Jersey roots in her occasionally dropped r's and long, flat vowels. An Ecco paperback. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[A] beautifully crafted love letter to [Robert
Mapplethorpe]...Smith transports readers to what seemed like
halcyon days for art and artists in New York...[a] tender and tough
memoir...[an] elegant eulogy."--Publishers Weekly
"Riveting and exquisitely crafted."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[JUST KIDS] offers a revealing account of the fears and insecurities harbored by even the most incendiary artists, as well as their capacity for reverence and tenderness."--USA Today
"A heartbreakingly sweet recollection of just that sort of vanished Bohemian life...Just as [Smith] stands out as an artiste in a movement based on collectivism, her singular voice gleams among rock memoirs as a work of literature."--Boston Globe
"A revelation. In a spellbinding memoir as notable for its restraint as for its lucidity, its wit as well as its grace, Smith tells the story of how she and Robert Mapplethorpe found each other... beautifully crafted, vivid, and indelible."--Booklist
"An utterly charming, captivating, intimate portrait of a late 1960s and early 1970s period of intense artistic ferment in downtown Manhattan significantly shaped and keenly observed by rock firebrand Smith."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"Captivating....a poignant requiem...and a radiant celebration of life. Grade: A."--Entertainment Weekly
"One of the best books ever written on becoming an artist...Jesus may have died for somebody's sins, but Patti Smith lives and writes and sings for all of us."--Washington Post
"Smith lovingly depicts the denizens of the Chelsea Hotel - is that Janis Joplin at the bar? - and the rock club CBGB, all the while pondering how to be an uncompromising artist who nonetheless needs to pay the rent."--Boston Globe
"The most compelling memoir by a rock artist since Bob Dylan's 'Chronicles: Volume One, ' written with intimacy and grace...."--Chicago Tribune
"To read JUST KIDS is to be struck by how powerfully the two, especially Smith, believed in the power of art....Despite her music's angry clamor, despite his sometimes revolting images, Smith and Mapplethorpe retain, in her telling, a primal, childlike innocence."--Dallas Morning News
"A moving portrait of the artist as a young woman, and a vibrant profile of Smith's onetime boyfriend and lifelong muse, Robert Mapplethorpe, who died of AIDS in 1989...JUST KIDS is ultimately a wonderful portal into the dawn of Smith's art."--Los Angeles Times
"Astonishing on many levels, most notably for Smith's lapidary prose....[JUST KIDS] is simply one of the best memoirs to be published in recent years: inspiring, sad, wise and beautifully written."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Terrifically evocative and splendidly titled...the most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late '60s and early '70s that any alumnus has committed to print....This enchanting book is a reminder that not all youthful vainglory is silly; sometimes it's preparation."--New York Times Book Review
"A touching tale of love and devotion."--Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
Singer/songwriter/poet Smith, also known as the "grandmother of punk rock," recalls her early days in New York City when she was searching for a vocation and a direction in her life. Most of all, this is a recollection of her deep, intimate friendship with late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-89), a fellow hungry and aspiring creator whom she calls "the artist of my life." It also is a vivid depiction of life in late 1960s New York and the famous people she knew (for example, Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg). Smith's narrative is poetic and beautifully composed, and she herself reads in a stoic and reflective voice that is mesmerizing. Highly recommended. [The Ecco: HarperCollins hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 11/20/09, was an LJ and a New York Times best seller.-Ed.]-Phillip Oliver, Univ.of North Alabama Lib., Florence (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.