Patti Smith’s well written memoir, Just Kids, chronicles the 1970’s and 1980’s in New York City. When she moved there she was young and full of hopes and dreams. Soon after she arrived she met Robert Mapplethorpe who had similar hopes and dreams. The book is a touching tribute to her friend, soul mate, and one time lover.
Along the way they met the famous and those who would become famous in the art and music worlds. Patti became a major rock star, Robert a famous, and notorious, photographer. To get there all they had to do was endure:
Sleeping on park benches
Sleeping on the floor of friends’ apartments
Cheap rented rooms
Cheap rented loft and living spaces
Bedbugs, lice and roaches
Eating out of dumpsters
In Mapplethorpe’s case, male hustling to pay the rent
Any job, no matter how low the pay
They were both very talented, but they needed luck too, from any kind, moneyed, and connected person. In their wake many acquaintances languished and died from drugs, alcohol, poverty, and no luck.
Just Kids is well worth the time if you are interested in the culture of New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s and to better understand “overnight success”. John Hink