Just Kids -- Patti Smith
I love this book.
I can't make a comparison to Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, otherwise I would tell you this is the best book I've read this year. Both serve as two of my favorite books I've read in a long time. Just Kids recounts the relationship of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in their early days in New York, before fame or photography or music. Young, aspiring artists occasionally sleeping on benches, eating grilled cheese (if eating at all), living in the Hotel Chelsea, and recounting the people, sights, smells and feeling of that time. Smith writes directly, and purposefully, and movingly, never getting caught up or lost in descriptive furies. In fact, the narrative never seems to stop moving forward, verb driven, making the memoir extremely difficult to put down. Her word choices are exquisite, the marriage of good writing and good storytelling. A love letter to New York, my timing for reading this was impeccable. I felt a real connection with her and her references were not lost on me, I've read what she's read, love similar art and music, and I felt a possibility in my life by merely reading about hers. It's a book that changes your perception; I want to write like her, absorb the world like her--what a gift.