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Extended Audio Sample Just Kids, by Patti Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00002608854452 out of 54.00002608854452 out of 54.00002608854452 out of 54.00002608854452 out of 54.00002608854452 out of 5 4.00 (38,331 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patti Smith Narrator: Patti Smith Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 Forty-Second 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 sixties and seventies 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Patti Smith has graced us with a poetic masterpiece, a rare and privileged invitation to unlatch a treasure chest never before breached.”

    Johnny Depp

  • “Last Christmas, driving from LA to San Francisco, I listened to Patti Smith’s Just Kids. It was a revelation. Or rather, she was. What is it about her voice? The way she uses her words and makes them sing? Her pace? Slow. Captivating. Patti and I are the same age. We both lived in New York during those early years of our careers. Yet without her book on tape I could never have imagined New York or the people she knew, or her beautiful mind. It was the sound of her voice coming through loud and clear, but quiet and compelling.”

    Diane Keaton

  • “Reminds us that innocence, utopian ideals, beauty, and revolt are enlightenment’s guiding stars in the human journey. Her book recalls, without blinking or faltering, a collective memory—one that guides them through the present and into the future.”

    Michael Stipe, frontman of REM

  • “One of the best things I’ve read in my life.”

    Don Imus

  • “This book is so honest and pure as to count as true rapture.”

    Joan Didion, New York Times bestselling author

  • “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)

  • “The most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and early ’70s that any alumnus has yet committed to print. The tone is at once flinty and hilarious, which figures: [Smith’s] always been both tough and funny, two real saving graces in an artist this prone to excess. What’s sure to make her account a cornucopia for cultural historians, however, is that the atmosphere, personalities, and mores of the time are so astutely observed…This enchanting book is a reminder that not all youthful vainglory is silly; sometimes it’s preparation. Few artists ever proved it like these two.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “More than just a 1970s bohemian rhapsody, Just Kids is one of the best books ever written on becoming an artist—not the race for online celebrity and corporate sponsorship that often passes for artistic success these days, but the far more powerful, often difficult journey toward the ecstatic experience of capturing radiance of imagination on a page or stage or photographic paper.”

    Washington Post

  • “Astonishing on many levels, most notably for Smith’s lapidary prose…Simply one of the best memoirs to be published in recent years: inspiring, sad, wise, and beautifully written.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Words bob and weave as if set to music, and Smith transforms her prose into a series of entrancing sounds—as interesting for their rhythms as their meaning. Using shifts in cadence and pregnant pauses, she allows silence to convey as much as words. Even phrases that clanged on the page sound perfect when Smith reads them herself. She writes of her youth and young womanhood, and something of those long-gone days emerges in the tone of her voice.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred audio review)

  • Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2010
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A #1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • An Indie Next Notable Title, February 2010
  • A 2010 ALA Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2011 Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for Best Audiobook
  • A 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Autobiography
  • A 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Current Interest

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jeff Littrell | 2/12/2014

    " Great account of rock and roll and the bohemian art scene in New York City in the 1970's and 1980's. Smith was a burgeoning rock singer/ poet and her roommate, Robert Mapplethorpe, was a controversial artist and photographer, whose work was banned due to it's depiction of nudity and homosexuality. The changing morals of the time were affected by the changing art scene. Big fan of Patti's music and poetry and this is well-written and informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nancy Faughnan | 2/12/2014

    " Oh how I loved this book! She's a wonderful soul who expresses things so evocatively. I was curious about mapplethorp. Loved him, too. Reminded me of the 70's in NY and I'm sorry, but despite the gentrification of today, it was so much more interesting back then when I was in college and Smith's music was a part of my life. Also, this book really brought home to me how much we've lost becasue of AIDS which decimated a whole community of the most creative people of the time. Sad, sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lauren | 2/9/2014

    " What a fantastic human Patti Smith is. I dare anyone to read this and not wish they had lived in New York in the 70s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Linda | 1/30/2014

    " I think I missed a lot here. There were so many names and people who I think I was suppose to recognize that, well, I didn't. It made the story sound more like a series of name dropping references with the inevitable, and then we did this, and then this happened, and then we did that of an autobiographical piece. Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendricks, Andy Warhol all played cameo roles. For someone so deeply artistic I thought I would come away from the book with a sense of who Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were. It felt shroud in gauze. Her transition from poet to singer seemed glossed over. The love and shared artistic connection comes through. At the end, when Patti Smith articulates how she came to write this book - that it was written as a promise to Robert as he lay dying, that I understood. This book is Patti's reluctant telling of a love story that has a very solemn ending. That aching sadness and confusion of 'how did we get here?" meaning become famous artists illuminates and uncovers the story finally. "

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