Just Kids, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (6 ratings)


A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists--Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe - whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art.

In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of.

The backdrop is Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max's Kansas City, Scribner's Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol's Factory and the whole city resplendent.

Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc.

It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding.

In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another.

Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years--the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy.

Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Rock & Pop music
  • ISBN: 9780747568766

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Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

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Review by

This is quite simply one of the best pieces of writing I have read in many years. The story of Patti and Robert is that of an unconditional love, friendship and companionship in a very tumultuous political and musical time period. It is an absolute pleasure to read about all of this from the perspective of one of the last great rock and roll poets of the age. Every fan of New York, poetry, music and art should have a copy of this excellent book in their collection.

Review by

Just Kids is as good as an autobiography can get: honest, captivating, inspiring, and at times moving. If you feel like reading it, you definitely should: you will enjoy it. It does not make sense to read it, however, if you are not interested in the arts, Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe, or at least the atmosphere of 1960s/70s New York, that is to say it is no literary master piece in itself.

Review by

An overwritten memoir that glosses over the author's actual career and relationship with her husband to focus on the bizarre link she had with an absurd photographer. The most interesting section dwells on their life at the Chelsea hotel, where celebrities drift in and out and Smith tells us about some of the other kookier inhabitants. The rest manages to feel like we're rush through her life while simultaneously dragging as a story. I can't understand the praise.

Review by

I loved this book. Patti Smith lets you into her world with no hint of arrogance or name-dropping boastfulness, even though there are lots of recognisable names in there. I read the last 20 or 30 pages in a blur as the tears fell from my eyes and I was left with an overwhelming sadness but also with a sense of an enduring love which could well surpass the accepted divisions between life and death. Smith writes simply and summarises events and encounters, but still gives colour to the world she inhabited with Mapplethorp in New York. The poverty of her youth and the eccentric people she befriended at the Hotel Chelsea were fascinating to read.

Review by

Tender recall of moving to Manhattan as a youngster and finding her soulmate. Wonderful detail giving a vivid portrait of the time and place.

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