24 January 2017

I picked this up when I was in HMV, probably buying a Pop Vinyl, no doubt, because it was only a few quid and thought it could be added to the pile of books I want to read this year. What I didn't realise is that it would become one of the books I know I will return to time and time again. This is the second book I've read this year. Actually surprised that it's something I'm sticking at (so far).

The book focuses on Patti Smith, if you hadn't guessed. She talks about her life as a child, what it was like growing up, and the numerous moves she made until she packed her bags, went to New York and her life changed entirely when she met Robert Mapplethorpe. Now, I knew of Mapplethorpe because he was one of the many photographers I looked at when studying photography many moons ago. So it was interesting to read how they met and basically helped one another to find, and develop their passions within the arts.

The beautiful thing with this book is that every time I came back to it (I go through spurts of reading a chunk of a book, then leave it, then return and repeat this process when reading any book) I felt immersed in the world. You felt as though you were a fly on the wall, seeing Patti and Robert come up with new ideas, inspiring one another. You also felt as though you were experiencing the slight heartbreak or jealousy one another may have been feeling from time to time when certain people came into their lives.

In a way, this book has helped to remind me that as long as I am creating in some shape or form, whether people see it or not...I'm expressing myself. It's on the page, in the photograph...whatever way I choose to express myself. Just because you don't exhibit your work or share it with the masses, doesn't make your work any less valid.

I rarely get emotional when reading, but Just Kids managed to hit me in the old feels numerous times. The way the book ended made me emotional for other reasons. I think the pictures and updates at the end were really beautiful. This will be a book that will definitely stay on my shelf (which I am yet to buy because I need some book storage, you know?) Picking this book up was one of those serendipitous moments, I like to think.

Have you read Just Kids or any of Patti Smith's other work? 

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