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Just kids : from Brooklyn to the Chelsea Hotel: a life of art and friendship.
Patti Smith
Adult Nonfiction ML420.S672 A3 2010

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In 1967, 21-year-old singer-song writer Smith, determined to make art her life and dissatisfied with the lack of opportunities in Philadelphia to live this life, left her family behind for a new life in Brooklyn. When she discovered that the friends with whom she was to have lived had moved, she soon found herself homeless, jobless, and hungry. Through a series of events, she met a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe who changed her life-and in her typically lyrical and poignant manner Smith describes the start of a romance and lifelong friendship with this man: "It was the summer Coltrane died. Flower children raised their arms... and Jimi Hendrix set his guitar in flames in Monterey. It was the summer of Elvira Madigan, and the summer of love...." This beautifully crafted love letter to her friend (who died in 1989) functions as a memento mori of a relationship fueled by a passion for art and writing. Smith transports readers to what seemed like halcyon days for art and artists in New York as she shares tales of the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's, and Strand bookstores. In the lobby of the Chelsea, where she and Mapplethorpe lived for many years, she got to know William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Johnny Winter. Most affecting in this tender and tough memoir, however, is her deep love for Mapplethorpe and her abiding belief in his genius. Smith's elegant eulogy helps to explain the chaos and the creativity so embedded in that earlier time and in Mapplethorpe's life and work. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Smith's remarkable musical achievement was finding the common ground between punk rock and beat poetry-the spontaneity and intense, sloppy energy-to create music that was throbbing with life. With that in mind, it's a mystery why her first book of prose-a memoir of her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their struggles to find a place in the New York City of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground-feels so inert. It reads like a first draft, as though Smith strained to achieve clarity in prose without sacrificing the poetry. This story of the misadventures of Smith's youth occasionally sparks interest with an anecdote about one of an endless parade of famed Greenwich Village iconoclasts (Jimi Hendrix, Allen Ginsberg, and Janis Joplin make cameos), but the renowned poet and lyricist's storytelling is just disappointing. Verdict For Smith or Mapplethorpe completists only. Readers interested in the milieu should consider Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]-Ned Resnikoff, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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