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“Just Kids” by Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” is a timeless memoir that reminisces on the early days of Smith’s career and her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Set against a backdrop of the 1970s art scene in New York City, the story is a captivating exploration of an artist’s journey against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world.

Plot Overview

Smith begins the story in 1967 and recounts her process of discovering her musical voice and her role within the artistic circles of New York City.

Upon arriving in New York, she meets fellow artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who would later become the subject of many of her photographs and lyrics.

Smith and Mapplethorpe’s friendship, which lasted until Mapplethorpe’s death in 1989, is chronicled in the book and encompasses their struggles to make a living as artists, their travels, and the relationships they formed with the other artists of their time.

Writing Style

Smith’s writing style is simple yet effective. She does not delve excessively into her own thoughts, instead allowing the story to describe her experiences and the relationships she made along the way.

The book is written in a conversational style, allowing the reader to experience Smith’s development as an artist and gain insight into her life.


The main theme explored in “Just Kids” is Smith’s development as an artist. Through her experiences with Robert Mapplethorpe and the other artists of her period, Smith discovers her voice and the strength of her creative spirit.

The book also discusses themes of friendship, loyalty, and the power of art, as Smith and Mapplethorpe fight to make it in the art world of New York City.


“Just Kids” by Patti Smith is a riveting exploration of the relationship between an artist and her craft.

Through her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe and her experiences in the New York art scene, Smith discovers the power of friendship, loyalty, and art.

Her writing style is captivating, drawing the reader into Smith’s journey and providing insight into the life of an artist.

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