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The book ‘Just kids’ by Patti Smith Essay

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Updated: Mar 28th, 2019

Patti Smith grew up in a poor family but her parents showed her the parental love that children deserve. Despite the fact that she dropped out of college, her knowledge for symbolic poetry was admirable. She spent most of her youthful years trying to discover herself.

She dreamt of becoming a star as opposed to an artist and worked hard to first become a muse before following her dream of being an artist. Smith had no ego and this made her to dedicate her time and energy in ensuring that the people she interacted with succeeded in whatever they did (Seattlepi 6).

She became widely recognized in the 70s due to her ability to merge rock music and poetry. Her album entitled Horses was rated as one of the best albums ever released in the world of music. Her first show of the drawings she made was in 1973 at Gotham book Mart. Since 1978, Robert Miller Gallery represented her works.

In 2008, the Foundation Cartier Pour located in Paris exhibited some of her photographs, drawings and installations. In 2005, she was given the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, which is a famous title by the ministry of culture in France, a prestigious honor to be accorded an artist by the French government.

In addition, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took her as one of its members in 2007. Smith got married to her late husband Fred smith in 1980 and had two children. She currently lives in New York where she is involved in different things including performing, writing and engaging in visual art (White 5).

The book ‘Just kids’ by Smith is a well written book that talks about her youthful days with Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she describes as an artist of her life. It is a combination of a memoir and an elegy shedding light on the interesting way of life in the New York City in the late 60s and 70s.

The book also presents the lives of two artists characterized by unique sensibilities. Patti and Robert grew up in families that upheld strict religious doctrines but the church encounters affected them differently. The church experiences for Patti worked to give her a better understanding of her work and a starting point since she could pray the way she wanted. Robert on the other hand could not find peace in the religion which partially contributed towards his secret sexuality.

Robert became Patti’s reliable friend for a short duration of time. He gave Patti creative encouragement and though he might not have been the person Patti had chosen, he remained a soul mate to Patti. Patti went through a difficult life when she first landed in New York City as a naïve girl from the suburbs.

She had no money and experienced firsthand how her friends were destroyed by drugs. The musical stars who continued losing their lives in the 60s and the appearance of gay figures were some of the experiences that Patti went through every day. She was oblivious of the sexuality of Robert who was among the people who were ready to do anything in order to achieve the star status (Patti, 86).

For most young artists, there were places and particular periods of time that remained significant to them. Chelsea Hotel was one such place where Patti spent time with Robert and got a chance to meet other idols. While in the hotel, she witnessed the deaths of many idols who had become her friends but she did not think that what happened to her friends could happen to Robert and her.

The 60s and 70s experiences of a young girl who turned an artist are brought to life through the story of Patti in the book. She remembers most of the things that took place in the New York City in those days and although many changes occurred, the history of the city remained intact.

Patti never thought of disclosing to anybody the change that had occurred in her relationship with Robert but she discovered that it was important for her to find something different. She still loved even when they drifted apart with Robert. Robert might also have been uncomfortable with Patti’s new boy friend but he never judged her. Patti and Robert kept on encouraging each another and remained true to themselves (Pajiba 10).

Eventually, Patti and Robert had to live separately since their lives and art were going different ways. The band Patti had established was succeeding and she started making tours. Robert remained in New York and through the assistance he got from a prosperous patron, he fully dedicated his time to photography.

He resolved to apply meticulous elegance on all his works regardless of their nature. Patti did not always relate to the subject matters that Robert dealt with but she understood why he never stopped doing it. She appreciated the fact that he never did whatever he was doing for the sake of it.

Patti vowed to take care of Robert since their early lives as kids and continued protecting him. As the book comes to an end, the final days of Robert and Patti are highlighted before Robert succumbed to AIDs in 1989. It is evident that he remains an important person to Patti throughout the book. She narrates Robert’s legacy in an eloquent manner through the sharp memories and stories that evoke the feelings of the reader.

Works Cited

Pajiba. Just Kids by Patti Smith. 2011. Web.

Patti, Smith. just Kids. New York: Ecco, 2010.Print

Seattlepi. Book Review: Just Kids by Patti Smith. 2011. Web.

White, Edmund. Just Kids by Patti Smith. 2010. Web.

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