When I was home, my mom gave me 'Just Kids' by Patti Smith. Momma has always been very good at doing her best to embrace and encourage my slightly 'off the beaten track' tastes. When I was in college, she once sent me a pair of heels covered in studs, which I knew was a huge step outside her comfort zone (I love you, momma) :)
I started and finished the book in a matter of days. It was brilliant. I didn't have much of a background on Patti Smith, and even less so about Robert Mapplethorpe, before I began to read the book. And, to be honest, in reading and loving 'Just Kids', you aren't in it to learn more about the main characters but to hear their beautiful and sometimes bizarre relationship. It's about youth and exploration, learning about love and sexuality, and the beautiful city of New York at one of its most influential times.
Patti, obviously, is an amazing writer. There is a sense of calm, naivety and positivity in her words which are very refreshing in a story that might tear someone of a different mindset apart. The story hit me personally at the right time as well...I am going through a lot of major changes (more on this soon, I promise!) and it is about a woman who has her heart in her career and how her love for her work carried her through even the hardest times. It is the only book I have ever read that has made me cry. Yes, that's right. When I finished the book yesterday, I was in tears. In public. Augh.
The day after I started reading, I picked up the new issue of Elle UK and funnily enough, one of my favourite rockers ever, Shirley Manson (from Garbage), was the subject of the 'My Life in Books' feature and one of her eight picks is 'Just Kids'. She describes the book and its effect incredibly well:
'This is an exhilarating meditation on love, music, art and adventure - full of goodness and passion. Patti Smith is my biggest inspiration - as a woman, an artist and an enduring spirit. She drew her own door for her career and walked right through it. She hasn't made any concessions to all the silly notions that women should be a certain way. I've had the absolute pleasure of player with her and was a complete wreck.'