A BESTSELLER, widely acclaimed and a new favourite read. But if it wasn’t for Patti Smith’s promise to an old friend we would never have read Just Kids and revelled in Smith’s memoir with beatnik style and poetic flair.

This is the tale of undiscovered dreams, fame and artistry set against a colourful New York City backdrop in the 1960s and 1970s. Just Kids revolves around the friendship between Smith and hippy artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; who helped pave her way to becoming an astounding songwriter and female icon.

Although Smith explains the book as ‘our story’; the journey of two lost souls struggling to reach their potential in a bustling city, Smith details a lot about her own life. Smith explains of her decent upbringing, her awkward adolescence and thirst for travel and adventure. She details her master plan to escape and start a creative life in NYC and there her world collides with Mapplethrope’s.

The pair clutch onto each other, inspiring and surviving. It leads them into the very heart of 60’s American cool. Rubbing shoulders with Andy Warhol’s posse and countless run-ins with rock n roll’s US finest; Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.

The story sees the couple grow apart, but Smith tenderly recalls their relationship. Just Kids is a powerful memoir of the strongest of friendships; a loving portrait of two very different poets helping one another through financial hardships and relationship woes. Smith transports us back to NYC with such vivid colour and feeling, encapsulating the decade and the hub for struggling creatives. So with Patti Smith’s recent album release Banga, have a read of what, and more importantly who got her there, in this profound and potent tale.


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