I really tried to get through this book. “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. I pushed myself 3 times but only managed to get halfway through. It’s a memoir and I just couldn’t get past all the lucky breaks she had when she was younger. She could have easily slipped through the cracks of history. Don’t get me wrong. She is a great writer and tells a good story.
If Robert Maplethorpe hadn’t scooped on her when she was homeless in NYC, there is a good chance nobody would know her name. Maplethorpe opened the doors to people who helped her career immensely. He got her into “The Factory” and also to many famous or soon to be famous musicians. It was the musicians who wanted to get into her pants who told her she should be a singer. Even though they had never heard her sing and she herself had no desire to sing in a band. I also wonder if she would have ever been published if she hadn’t had an affair with Sam Shepard, a famous playwright at the time. Even Bruce Springsteen wrote her most well known song.
Maplethorpe asked her to write this book to tell the story of their early love for each other. If you like memoirs or autobiographies or even like Patti Smith, you will probably have more luck with this book than I had.
Maybe it is sour grapes on my part but I just couldn’t see past the amazing coincidences that made her life story. I liked her latest book, “Year of the Monkey” better than this one. In fact, that book was the one that made me want to read more Patti Smith books. Now I think I am going to move on to something else. I would recommend this book if you are a fan of her music or her other writings. She still has great style as an author. The only reason I couldn’t finish the book was my personal problem. Don’t let that stop you. Her life is quite interesting and the list of who’s who she met in her lifetime is endless.