Memoirs are some of my favourite forms of non-fiction. Getting a real insight into someone's life is a wonderful way to consume a story. I had heard this was a fantastic memoir, and despite knowing very little about Patti Smith, I love anything around the rock and roll era.
Introducing herself when she was a child, we learn about this legendary singers upbringing, and the birth of her many talents. All the way through to her life as a mother after she had found fame (and of course everything else in between). You certainly don't have to be a Patti Smith fan to appreciate this book. She is a quintessential hippy and encapsulates anything and everything you would assume about this era and the various rockstars that came along with it. Despite not always jumping to read a celebrity autobiography, the most wonderful parts are entirely unique to this particular type of book: name dropping. There are countless stories about Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol. You can catch on very quickly as to how these very specific, eclectic personality types have managed to find fame and fortune. I was expecting there to be more of a focus on Patti Smith's music than it just being touched on towards the end. From knowing so little about her background, I assumed she had a somewhat typical journey when entering the world of singing. However Patti Smith had never performed until well into her twenties, which gave way to a huge amount of the story exploring her other artistic pursuits, such as painting and poetry. Ultimately, this book is the story of Patti's friendship and connection with her closest friend and photographer, Robert. Their devotion to one an other was truly beautiful to read about. No matter what revelations or downfalls their relationship had (of which there were many), you truly sensed their unshakeable bond. This is their story, as opposed to just hers. During her childhood years, she talks of how her dream was to write a book. You can tell whilst reading that she was a very soulful and talented person. She had a completely unforgiving attitude to always being herself (even hilariously in one scene, where she is hit on in a bar by a gay man who had no idea she was a woman). Having done it all: art, poetry, music, all whilst going through periods of being too broke to eat and even being homeless, this is an exceptional story, celebrity or not. Her writing is exquisite and moving; you can tell that writing a book was as much her calling as her other many creative talents.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: 2010
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
# of Pages: 306