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Just Kids Audiobook

Just Kids

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Audible Editor Reviews

In 1989, just before famously controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe died too young of AIDS complications at age 42, he made his very best friend promise to tell their story. Patti Smith took many years to do it, but the incredible result, Just Kids has proven well worth the wait. Winner of the National Book Award, Smith's delicate tribute to her relationship with Mapplethorpe and their love affair with New York City is read by Patti Smith herself.

No one else could narrate this, and no one else could have written this. After Smith ditched college to move to New York in 1967, a chance encounter in which Mapplethorpe saved her from an expectant date by pretending to be her angry boyfriend touched off one of the most historic artistic partnerships the city had ever seen. Embarking at first as lovers, they clung to their art and each other through poverty and misfortune in the late-60s, moving steadily closer to the center of cultural influence in the 70s. Mapplethorpe struggled with coming out of the closet and Smith struggled to find an artistic medium that suited her best. Together, they swam through everything that made New York great and terrible, each eventually emerging as a pioneering independent spirit that to this day knows no equal.

Smith's voice as both the writer and the narrator is simply unimpeachable. Reflective and soft-spoken, she humbly attempts to capture two decades of this inspirational partnership. Listeners can tell she is thinking through every image she has written here, pausing occasionally to let it sink in for herself or to let the dialogue get caught in her throat. By turns haunted and poetic, by turns silly and sarcastic, Smith trips along these enchanting bits of history in a way that is utterly endearing. It's not at all like inviting somebody famous to entertain you with gossip at dinner. Real respect must be paid. Listeners will be in awe of the fact that Patti Smith comes across as a totally normal person who stumbled into an extraordinary life. Even if you've already passed totally engrossed through the hard copy of this book, to hear it from Patti Smith's own mouth is simply an otherworldly experience. This audiobook is an essential companion to the text that will not only bear repeated listening, but will beg for it. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2010

It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.

Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to 42nd Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous - the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late 60s and 70s and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.

©2010 Patti Smith (P)2011 Patti Smith

What the Critics Say

“Smith’s beautifully crafted love letter to her friend Robert Mapplethorpe functions as a memento mori of a relationship fueled by passion for art and writing. Her elegant eulogy lays bare the chaos and the creativity so embedded in that earlier time and in Mapplethorpe’s life and work.” (Publishers Weekly, Top Ten Books of the Year)

“The most enchantingly evocative memoir of funky-but-chic New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s that any alumnus has yet committed to print.” (Janet Maslin's top 10 books of 2010, New York Times)

“Reading rocker Smith’s account of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, it’s hard not to believe in fate. How else to explain the chance encounter that threw them together, allowing both to blossom? Quirky and spellbinding.” (People, Top 10 Books of 2010)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    R. Campbell Glastonbury, CT, United States 10-25-12
    R. Campbell Glastonbury, CT, United States 10-25-12 Member Since 2009

    Ray Campbell

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Robert Mapplethorpe (and Patti Smith)"

    This was a sad book. I had expected a Rock & Roll memoir from the queen of 1970s New York alt rock scene. I had read the book description, but still. This was the story of Patti’s life with Robert Mapplethorpe as they grew up together, young Bohemians, in New York. While they cross paths with many of the icons of the day, Patti’s music career is a footnote. I have a new appreciation for Mapplethorpe. Art can be disagreeable to me and yet I can understand the artist and appreciate the creativity. Patti’s portrait of him is so tender and her love for him so sincere, it’s hard not to feel for both of them as they struggled to eat as friends and neighbors in the Hotel Chelsea committed suicide, overdosed and succumbed to disease. It’s easy to imagine rock stars and artists crafting personas. Patti and Robert were the real deal and their story very moving. I’d like to mark the topic as music, but this was the memoir of artists one of whose medium happened to be music in popular culture.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry P. Klein 01-27-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Too much repetition"

    Much too much repetition of information and there is NO "L" in the word DRAW or DRAWING!!! Had to stop about halfway through. Maybe a different narrator could present Patti's story in a more pleasing-to-the-ear manner,

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
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    Litlepapoose 10-22-11
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    "Fantastic, great narration!"

    Incredibly touching, wonderfully written, beautiful imagery. I loved this book. I had a little bit of a hard time for the first few sentences to get used to the poetic language. But once you listen to Patti's voice and see what she saw... It is a beautiful book, and I really want to share the audio version with others. I could not have loved this book as much without this narration.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    genevieve ANACORTES, WA, United States 08-20-11
    genevieve ANACORTES, WA, United States 08-20-11
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    "She is the best."

    Patti Smith sheds a non-judgemental light on an era of New York City when the art and music scenes seemed to be exploding. She crosses the paths of many luminaries (Harry Smith, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol) while slowly finding her own way and becoming the admired singer, poet and artist many adore. This book is very humble, it is not about name-dropping, she is not trying to make her or her friends seem like rock/art royalty. This book is the tale of her often beautiful and enduring friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their respective urges to create.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Monge 09-20-16
    Karen Monge 09-20-16 Member Since 2016
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    "This book gave me life!"

    This book has stolen my heart. Absolutely beautifully written and extraordinarily read by Patti Smith.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    debbie ortiz 09-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A love story about friends, art, and literature."
    If you could sum up Just Kids in three words, what would they be?

    Love, friendships, culture,and success.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The growth of Robert and Patti's friendship/love story in the 60s,in NYC.


    Any additional comments?

    There were so many interesting people that shaped their journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Adams Monteagle, Tn United States 09-17-16
    Wendy Adams Monteagle, Tn United States 09-17-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting"

    The only thing I missed was seeing pictures. I really enjoyed the fact that Patti Smith read it herself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobby El Paso, TX, United States 09-13-16
    Bobby El Paso, TX, United States 09-13-16 Member Since 2008
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    "remarkable story and performance"

    a great book for this heart and the imagination. Patti's performance of her own words was excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Plotkin 09-06-16
    R. Plotkin 09-06-16 Member Since 2016
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    "wow"

    the entire book was a sweet and sad dirge for a love that rarely anyone gets to know....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-10-16
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    "Emotionally deep and completely honest"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, you can learn a lot about yourself


    What did you like best about this story?

    The honest analysis of their feelings towards each other. The fact that they were soulmates was never overtaken by egotistical concerns


    Which character – as performed by Patti Smith – was your favorite?

    Patti


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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