ABOUT THE BOOK
Plenty has been written about Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, two of the more celebrated artists to emerge from the vibrant New York artistic circles of the ‘70s. Now Smith shares her story - or at least part of it - in her own words, with Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Smith’s Just Kids tells the tumultuous story of their romance, artistic self-discovery and eventual commercial success. Like all great autobiographies, her story is strewn with anecdotal snapshots and inner observations that would have been beyond the grasp of even the most dedicated biographer. It’s an intimate, tender account that, as the title suggests, sticks mostly to the duo’s formative years.
In telling her own story, Smith also pulls back the lens to capture some of the energy of the era, a golden age ruled by icons like Andy Warhol (a major source of fascination for the young Mapplethorpe), Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed. Many of the main settings in the book - the Chelsea Hotel, Max’s Kansas City, CBGB - have become places of lore.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Adam McKibbin's work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and websites, including The Nation, the Chicago Tribune, AlterNet, Paste and Punk Planet. He's worked in web editorial and social media management for years, and is a seasoned interviewer whose favorite subjects include David Lynch, Tori Amos and human rights journalist Mac McClelland. He studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin and received the Award for Academic Excellence for his collected fiction. He's currently working on his first nonfiction book. Adam lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, and can be found on Twitter at @TheRedAlert.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Just Kids begins with Patti Smith as an actual kid; she was a sickly child, getting herself through the day by losing herself in stacks of books and imagining herself walking in the footsteps of heroes like Rimbaud and Bob Dylan. At the earliest opportunity, she sets out for New York City with barely a dollar in her hand and nary a job prospect. Shortly thereafter, she meets a striking and self-assured young artist named Robert Mapplethorpe.
Smith and Mapplethorpe become fast friends, then lovers, roommates and mutual muses. The early stretch of Just Kids documents a time when money was scarce but inspiration was abundant.
Smith worked on her poetry while Mapplethorpe explored increasingly dark and sexualized themes in his collage art; they set out with fame and fortune squarely on their minds, but hadn’t yet found their mediums of choice. In each case, they found their calling (Smith in music, Mapplethorpe in photography) with the help of pestering from the other.
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