I’ve decided to try something a little different with today’s update. This post marks the first “bookish wandering,” a new project in which I will be exploring a place that holds remarkable significance in a book. As you may know, the name of this blog was inspired by the complementary merging of a desire to travel and a love for books. I’ve always toyed with the idea of travelling to the location where a book takes place, and so, this series will be a good way for me to take my blog in a direction that more thoroughly integrates that spirit of wanderlust and travel through books.
As my time in New York draws near to an end, I wanted to take advantage of my being in one of the most culturally vibrant and historically rich cities in the world. Therefore, the first bookish wandering will revolve around a highly New York centric memoir, Patti Smith’s Just Kids.
Premise: A memoir with a heavy focus on the story and relationship between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.
Review: I approached Just Kids with extremely high expectations, and unfortunately, I was underwhelmed. I could not help but feel distanced due to the storytelling, particularly the middle portion, that often lapsed into a list-like monotony of events.
There was also an excessive amount of name dropping. The events that occurred reinforce the frustrating idea that success, especially in the creative world, mostly stems from lucky coincidences, or of being at the right place at the right time. All in all, you have to have the right connections.
I did enjoy Patti Smith’s recounting of her beautiful friendship with Robert, however. The beginning and ending were the parts that really brought the experiences to life for me and tied the memoir together. Her passion shone most brilliantly in the moments spent talking about Robert and their art.
Reading about the New York arts scene in Just Kids while being here in 2015 was truly an incredible experience. There were several times when I was reading about Patti and Robert taking a particular train or roaming a certain neighbourhood at the same time that I was riding that very train or walking that specific street.
I read this on my Kindle, so unfortunately, I don’t have any bookish photographs to share with you for this book. Instead, I will be sharing snaps of Coney Island, a place that formed the basis of many important memories in the relationship between Patti and Robert.
I always loved the ride to Coney Island. Just the idea that you could go to the ocean via subway was so magical.
We pulled into our stop. I leapt to my feet, filled with the anticipation of a child, slipping my book back into the sack. He took my hand.
Nothing was more wonderful to me than Coney Island with its gritty innocence. It was our kind of place: the fading arcades, the peeling signs of bygone days, cotton candy and Kewpie dolls on a stick, dressed in feathers and glittering top hats.
We were just ourselves that day, without a care. Only weeks before we had been at the bottom, but our blue star, as Robert called it, was rising.