Just Kids is about Patti Smith’s relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe with a focus on their early years, when Smith was in her early twenties and fresh to New York City. But it is also so much more. It is a story of love and friendship. It is a story of the New York artist community during the 1970s. And it is a meditation on what makes an artist, as well as a meditation on life and loss. Even if you are primarily a fiction reader, you will adore this book because it contains all the elements of great fiction. Patti Smith’s writing is eloquent and insightful, and the 2010 nonfiction National Book Award she received for Just Kids is well-deserved.