Disclaimer: This review will be in no way helpful to you if you’re looking for a concise, well-written, thought-out review about the merits and failures of Just Kids by Patti Smith. No. It’s mostly just me raging. You’ve been warned.
This book, man. I can reconcile, now that it’s done, that the general style of the book just wasn’t for me and that has a lot to do with my negative reaction. But still. There was not a single sentence in this book that didn’t, at least, make me wince a little. Most sentences made me roll my eyes and sigh heavily. Some made me stomp around like a toddler because I didn’t want to keep reading and nobody could make me. I wish I was joking about any of this, especially the tantrum part.
I can’t remember when I bought this book for my kindle, but it had to have been close to a year ago. That’s how long it’s taken me to get through it. Again, I wish I was kidding.
Every sentence is writhing with such pretentiousness (pretension?) that even typing up these quotes for this review pained me. This is just one example.
When I walked on the stages of the world without him I would close my eyes and picture him taking off his leather jacket, entering with me the infinite land of a thousand dances.
Infinite land of a thousand dances. That was actually written down. And published. In a real book.
Even Patti’s dreams are pretentious.
One afternoon I fell asleep on the floor amid my piles of books and papers, reentering the familiar terrain of a recurring apocalyptic dream. Tanks were draped in spangled cloth and hung with camel bells. Muslim and Christian angels were at one another’s throats, their feathers littering the surface of the shifting dunes. I plowed through revolution and despair and found, rooted in the treachery of the withered trees, a rolled leather case. And in that deteriorating case, in his own hand, the great lost work of Arthur Rimbaud.
Who. The fuck. Writes that down. OMG.
It also doesn’t help that Smith drops names so often it actually just becomes distracting. Literally, there’s probably an average of 3 name-droppings per page: famous people she meets or knows or hears about or likes or or OR.
Basically I can sum up this book with: self-indulgent wank, wank, wank, name drop, name drop, wank, name drop, more wank. THE END.
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