100 Books That Defined the Decade
For good, for bad, for ugly.
Patti Smith, Just Kids (2010)
Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.
Essential Stats: This memoir from beloved singer-songwriter, poet, and high priestess of New York punk—which detailed her complicated relationship with the experimental artist Robert Mapplethorpe—won the 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction, made more end-of-year Best Of lists than you can shake a stick at, and was even crowned the One Book One New York winner earlier this year.
Did the critics like it? You bet they did. Tom Carson, writing in the New York Times, called it “the most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and early ’70s that any alumnus has committed to print”; Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt dubbed it “a poignant requiem…and a radiant celebration of life”; and Kirkus labeled it “riveting and exquisitely crafted.”
Why did it strike such a chord with readers? Because who wouldn’t want to traverse the grimy and glorious world of the 1970s NYC art and music scene with Smith as their guide?
Because the Night: belongs to lovers . . .
Patti Smith reading from Just Kids and performing “Because the Night”:
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