Sorry for the major delay in posting. College life got busier than I was expecting this semester. Anyway onto the book review!
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids is a creative non-fiction story about Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. This book has been one of my favorites to read during my 52 journey. I haven’t read a lot of creative non-fiction before, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into with this story. I chose it because the story and setting described on the cover summary drew me in and I wanted to add more creative non-fiction to my 52 in 52 choices.
The story revolves around Patti Smith’s life and relationship with artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The tale takes place during the late 1960s onward through Robert’s death in 1989. The setting: New York City. The story took me on a journey that I wasn’t expecting. It lead me through New York City encountering places and people I’ve only read about or seen pictures of–a time I wanted to be around to see. The story gave the reader an insight into the life as a struggling artist and how artists develop in their inspiration, skills, direction, and technique. As a writer it was fascinating learning so much about these two people’s lives and how they grew and developed as artists. The people Patti and Robert met were jawdropping and the dreamer in me wanted so badly to be a part of their world and to stay with them at the Hotel Chelsea.
On a story level, the narrative had its slow parts. I didn’t read the book as fast as I’ve read others and at some parts I did loose interest. However, life isn’t always exciting and this story was about life. What I loved a lot about the narrative was the way Patti wrote it. You could tell that she was a poet by the way that she worded phrases and the way she described things. The language usage was definitely a favorite of mine. I was happy that the story was told from Patti Smith’s point of view and not as a third person point of view.
The only down side to this story is that the subject matter might not be for everyone. It hit home for me because I’m a writer and a partial musician so everything involving the creative processes is intriguing to me. However, others might not be pulled in, but instead pushed out or bored with the storyline. Although, the narrative does contain general themes like survival, love, and self-discovery.
I would recommend this book in a heartbeat, but I encourage readers interested to check out reviews or summaries before taking the leap. The story might not be what you are looking for, although I greatly enjoyed it!