We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Just Kids Audiobook

Just Kids

Regular Price:$30.79
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

4.5 (2488 )
5 star
 (1666)
4 star
 (492)
3 star
 (215)
2 star
 (65)
1 star
 (50)
Overall
4.5 (2209 )
5 star
 (1521)
4 star
 (418)
3 star
 (174)
2 star
 (59)
1 star
 (37)
Story
4.4 (2224 )
5 star
 (1522)
4 star
 (376)
3 star
 (184)
2 star
 (85)
1 star
 (57)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Yvonne S. Young 11-01-11 Member Since 2016

    Yvonne Young

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful telling of a life like no other"

    Patti Smith pours out the story of her life with humility, peace and quiet resolve. She starts with the shame and humiliation of getting pregnant in her teens and giving the baby up for adoption in the early 60s. With hardly a dime to her name she moves to New York City where she meets and enters into a loving relationship with the famous photographer, Robert Maplethorpe. Together they supported one another in all their artful endeavors even after he left her for the love of a man. Eventually they moved to the Chelsea Hotel where they associated with well-known poets and authors and artists and musicians of the late 60s and early 70s. Patti's career took off, she married and had two children, and Robert continued his love of photography. Patti took care of him when he contracted AIDS and eventually died. Their love for one another was so extraordinary, so caring for one another, so mutually supportive, so non-judgmental, so void of jealousy and mistrust. I am in awe of Patti's talents as a singer and as a poet and artist, but most of all I admire her humility and honesty. I've always been fascinated with Maplethorpe's work and have a book of some of his photography, mostly of women, and Patti rounds out the line-up of well-known women in the last four photos. She was and is more beautiful than she knows. A few days ago I read where she visited the Occupy Wall Street camp to donate some of her books. While walking among the protesters she came upon an old woman to whom she gave her socks and boots.

    8 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rupe 09-09-11
    Rupe 09-09-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    396
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "And to think I almost took a pass on this one..."

    I love the honesty and mispronunciations of Patti's reading. Here she is -a brilliant, insightful intellect with the Jersey vernacular keeping her human. The book begins slow, almost ho-hum like light snowflakes that swirl around until it becomes ground cover, then the whole snowball effect takes place and by the end of the book you'll feel like you just rode an avalanche. It's an artistic, culturally penetrating, honest and most importantly- heartfelt love story.

    8 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
    107
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    185
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    711
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Litlepapoose 10-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Yenrab Namrehs Mooresville, NC 07-30-17
    Yenrab Namrehs Mooresville, NC 07-30-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Moving, Fun, Engaging Story"

    A moving, fun, engaging story about how the creative guardian angels bring together what should be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah 07-19-17
    Leah 07-19-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Robert Maplethorp"
    Any additional comments?

    I had no idea about the relationship between Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. Crazy and fascinating! You can't make this stuff up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bubblesaqt 04-27-17
    bubblesaqt 04-27-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "never knew"

    loved her since the 70s but never knew her background, im a bigger fan after this and cannot wait to read more! what a fantastic story teller i felt as though i was next to her on the journey she has had.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Washington, IL, US 04-13-17
    Amazon Customer Washington, IL, US 04-13-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing story of Young artists."

    A wonderful story of Young artists who found each other, supported each other and grew as people and artists. Memorable. Patti Smith writing is compelling and complete. Robert is smiling from above.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.