When she was 20 years old, Patti Smith boarded a bus to New York to try life as an artist. Her plan was to stay with friends in Brooklyn, find a job to support herself, and learn how to be an artist. When Patti arrived in Brooklyn, her friends were no longer there and she was homeless, jobless, and hungry. Eventually Patti finds friendship with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe, a fellow aspiring artist. The two lean on one another as they struggle to stay afloat in Brooklyn and find their way in the art world. Their relationship and their talents evolve with friendships and encounters with a variety of fellow artists including Janis Joplin and Allen Ginsberg and years spent at the Hotel Chelsea. Both eventually come into their talents, Patti in music, Robert in photography.
Just Kids comes from a promise from Patti Smith to Robert Mapplethorpe that she would write their story. The book primarily discusses their beginnings and their relationship; it does not go into much detail about them after they become famous.
This book was an interesting collection of memories from the lives of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. It contains names of many different well-know musicians, artists, and writers that the two encountered. I think I would have appreciated the book more if I had grown up during that era or had more knowledge of art and music from that time.
National Book Award winner