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Three Worthwhile Memoirs

Patti Smith’s JUST KIDS struck me as more “memoirs” rather than a literary memoir.  It seemed drawn from journals rather than relived and recreated via memory, there isn’t a lot of reflection or insight, and the style is not particularly scenic but more recounted or recorded.  That said, the material was interesting–her and Robert Mapplethorpe’s young lives in New York in the late ’60s and early 70s, and particularly their developments and mutual support as artists.  I enjoyed it, and found myself genuinely moved at the end by her love for and loss of her long-time mentor, friend, love, early lover, and always supporter.  It was fun to read about life at the Chelsea Hotel and the NYC scene with people like Janis Joplin, Sam Shepard, Diane Arbus, Gregory Corso, Bobby Neuwirth, Marianne Faithful, and George Plimpton (to name only a few) wandering through (there are also a ton of names I didn’t recognize–she takes name dropping to a new level!  But that’s  “the scene” and a huge part of the memoir).

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