Just Kids

  • by Patti Smith
  • Narrated by Patti Smith
  • 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2010
Patti Smith's evocative, honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe
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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mild-mannered woman goes through life. The end.

What didn’t you like about Patti Smith’s performance?

The woman cannot pronounce 'drawing' to save her life. And she says 'drawing' a lot. Finding out during the book that she used to do poetry readings I'm like.... wut. Could be that her way of speaking is good for a short poem, but it's tedious for the duration of a whole book.


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I liked the little snippets of observations about her contemporaries. But there's a long way between them.


Any additional comments?

This was just a colourless narration of stuff that happened. I didn't feel close to the people in it, or drawn in by her journey, but I might just not be into this kind of stuff.

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- Shi Shu Li "word avenger"

The most spectacular experience

What made the experience of listening to Just Kids the most enjoyable?

The narration and the beauty of the language, harmonising fully with the story, made this my most enjoyable audiobook experience for me to date. I was not into Patti Smith nor very fascinated by the age or Chelsea Hotel before but needed to start going through her work afterwards. And felt an extreme urge to quit my job, sit on a floor and create, and just listen to this over and over (I just barely manage to refrain though)


What was one of the most memorable moments of Just Kids?

The story in itself is not really what makes this book. All the moments where Patti Smith lets us peak below her skin, the vulnerable moments, the moments of sheer joy, the uncertainties of life- those are why this book is such a treasure.


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

The story is read with one voice, not portraying the people she has met in her life by different voices, but rather as personal recollections of events.


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

There were occasions of tears running down my cheeks, despite sitting on the commuter train. And episodes where I giggled. But which of all the reflections and events that will move the listener are probably different for every person. Just be prepared to be emotionally involved at some level.


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- Emma

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2011
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury