Book Eight: Just Kids

Just Kids, Patti Smith

I was pretty excited to read this, but now I don't remember why. I don't have any specific interest in Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe, but I suppose I'd heard it was a good book. And it's fine. But I kept being reminded in my lack of interest in these people and their scene. I'm certainly not going to accuse her of name dropping, since I have no doubt as to the truth of her story, but it often feels like that. Like, hey, here I am talking to Jimi Hendrix and here I am having an affair with Sam Shepard and here I am hanging out at the Chelsea with Janis Joplin and so on. Again, not necessarily a problem, but totally not my scene. I am just one of those squares who find the whole New York arts scene/Jim Morrison worship/Studio 54 hangers-on/drug-induced haze a bit tedious.

But Patti Smith's writing is pretty effortless, and by that I mean it feels like she put very little effort into writing this book. Sometimes that means that there are moments are pure beauty that rise out of the simplicity, and other times it feels like it needed some serious editing.


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