Just Kids - Summary and Key Ideas

"Just Kids" is a memoir by Patti Smith that explores her deep friendship and brief romance with artist Robert Mapplethorpe during their early years in New York City, as they navigated their paths to fame. It's a story of youth, friendship, art, and the transformational power of creativity.

The target group for "Just Kids" is likely individuals interested in the intersection of art, music, and personal relationships, particularly those who appreciate the works of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.

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Just Kids

Key ideas


The author's journey embodies the unwavering dedication, resilience, and creativity inherent in the pursuit of art.


Artistic evolution is a testament to personal transformation, driven by encounters with art and an unwavering determination to express oneself creatively.

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The pursuit of artistic identity and self-realization, despite societal norms and economic challenges, is a testament to the transformative power of art.

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The exploration of literature, art, and music was not just about acquiring knowledge, but also about developing a personal aesthetic and understanding of the world.

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The pursuit of art demands resilience, inventiveness, and a willingness to sacrifice, as exemplified by the struggles and commitment of Robert and Patti.

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The shared artistic journey between the author and Robert was not just about creating art, but also a testament to their mutual support, shared experiences, and a deep understanding of each other's artistic visions amidst life's hardships.

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The protagonist's unwavering determination to become an artist, fueled by empathy, early exposure to art, and the complexities of her environment, leads her to abandon her old life and fully commit to her artistic journey.

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Summary & Review

"Just Kids" is a memoir by Patti Smith that chronicles her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The book explores their journey as young artists in New York City during the late 1960s and 1970s. Smith and Mapplethorpe's relationship is marked by a deep bond of friendship, artistic collaboration, and mutual support, even as they each pursue their individual paths. The book also provides a vivid portrayal of the New York art scene during this period, including the Chelsea Hotel, where they lived and created art.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith is an American singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album "Horses". Known as the "punk poet laureate," Smith fused rock and poetry in her work, and her most widely recognized song is "Because the Night," co-written with Bruce Springsteen.

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