I don’t usually do book reviews here at Time to Cry, but this one I could not resist. I just finished reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids and it left an indelible mark on me. A promise made to a soul mate on the day before he died to write their story makes this all the more poignant.
Not because I am a fan of Patti Smith (although I am) or of Robert Mapplethorpe (I am(ish) with a caveat that some of his work is just way too graphic for me). But because this is the story of two of people who were their art. And simply because this is one of the truly great love stories. Not just of romance, but of two people who were inextricably linked. The story of young artists feeding each other’s souls in a way that is almost difficult to understand. In many ways they were but one soul. Their relationship started as a romantic one and transcended Mapplethorpe’s coming out.
With NYC of the late 60s and early 70s as it’s backdrop, Smith has woven their story almost as if it were poetry.
As with any biographical account, I am sure the omissions where plenty and the story romanticized a bit, but the net of it all is that these two people were so incredibly connected. In many ways, one completed the other. They reveled in each other’s fame and suffered from each other’s failures. Their sense of responsibility to one another was inspiring.
If you create, this will give you chills. If you don’t, it gives you insight into the minds and hearts of those who do. And if you have ever loved deeply, this will give you a good old fashioned Time to Cry at the end.