This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Just Kids by Patti Smith

This was the last of the three novels I wanted to read as part of National Book Foundation winners book challenge. It also was the second (of three!) that I stopped reading.

Just Kids is a memoir written by Patti Smith, the songstress. It chronicles her life with Robert Mapplethorpe. I think part of the problem, for me, is not really knowing the "characters".

Yes, I have heard of Patti Smith, but I don't know anything else about her...other than she was some kind of hippie? And that I get her confused with Patty Smyth, another songstress.

And Robert Mapplethorpe? Never, ever heard of him. Based on this novel, I could surmise that he was something special at some point and that he was an artist and that he was dead.

I would then learn that he was also gay. This doesn't bother me *at all*. But intially, he and Patti were lovers so it was a wild disclosure, for someone who knew nothing about where this book was going to go.

And I won't know, unless I read someone else's detailed account of the novel. I enjoyed what I read but only to a certain degree. It's a big book. It has a lot of build up. And because I don't know these people, it edges on pretty boring. Perhaps if there was autobiography about Nikki Sixx, the love of my life throughout my growing up years, I would have the same interest as someone familiar with these folks.

But again, this detracts from the relevancy of the winners of the National Book Foundation when two of the three novels are bad (for me). The first one, MockingBird, is amazing and they get huge brownie points for that one. But these other two take so much away from their credibility for me. How old are these people? How much of a literary snob are they? I mean seriously, there are A LOT OF BOOKS out there and these two are the ones you picked for best fiction and non-fiction?

Not sure I'll challenge myself with them again. I need to move on to another book foundation.

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