Title: Just Kids
Author: Patti Smith
Page Count: 310
This is an interesting little memoir, not least because Patti Smith is a fascinating woman and it covers her love affair with Robert Mapplethorpe. At least, I think that’s his surname. I’ll be honest, I know nothing about him other than what I read in this book.
This also doesn’t really go into detail on Smith’s work, mainly due to its very nature. It covers a heady few years at the end of the sixties and the start of the seventies and while Smith and Mapplethorpe were by no means idle at the time, they were yet to reach the heights to which their careers would eventually take them.
Instead, then, this is a beautifully-written memoir of the formative years of two artists who also happen to be two lovers. Not everything is halcyon and ideal, though. For example, Patti got pregnant at quite a young age and ultimately had no choice but to give it up for adoption. The sad thing for me was that when she was in the hospital, she was treated abysmally. She remembers overhearing the nurses there talking about cutting her hair while she was asleep.
What’s interesting about this book is that while there might not be much there for people who are looking to dig deep into Smith’s past and to discover what inspired her later career, it does do a great job of showing the reader what she was like as a person, especially in her early years.
But the good news is that if you were hoping for a little insight into that, there is also a moving postscript where we find out how the story ended. It might not be pretty, neat or tidy, but it is real life. So yeah.