Patti Smith tells the the story of her life and love with Robert Mapplethorpe. To be honest, prior to this memoir I may have heard of Patti Smith but only in passing, whereas I was familiar with Mapplethorpe. I read it because it won the National Book Award and a friend recommended it.
The book takes the reader on the couple’s journey from their respective youths to Robert’s death. They weren’t together the whole time but from the age of 19 to about 28 or 29 as they lived and loved and roamed the streets of New York meeting other artists and becoming artists in their own rights. She moved from visual arts toward poetry and music, he worked at photography – especially homoerotic and SM gay photography. She ended up in punk rock and heavy metal bands but a few times with Bruce Springsteen.
The New York scene in the late 1960s and very early ‘70s was much like that of San Francisco in those days so I identified with much of it. Smith’s writing and the lovely memories make the book. As with most memoirs I do believe there’s a lot untold.