I was scouring Amazon with a book voucher in tow and found I had reached my budget just as I stumbled across this book. I’ve long considered buying it since it always appears in my recommended sections but, until recently, I hadn’t. The next day I was in town with a friend and we stopped by Waterstones. I found this book again and showed her, saying this was the book I kept going to buy but never did. It was then she turned to me, told me it was one of her favourite books and I had to read it. I was sold; so was the book.
My friend told me that even if you don’t like Patti Smith or hadn’t heard of her, this book would be one that you couldn’t put down. It is, frankly, an incredible love story. With this in mind, I went home and immediately delved in. Two days later – I don’t know the exact total of hours, but it’s not many – and I am finished. Following on from my resolution to read more books, this is the fastest I’ve read a book in a long time and I wholeheartedly place the credit on Patti’s eloquent grasp on vocabulary.
Her book is beautiful, yet unbelievably sad. I texted my friend the moment I finished to tell her and she simply replied, “Sad, isn’t it?”
It’s such a charming story of two people so invested in their art and each other. I’ve read many tales of subjects following their passion of the arts, but few were told as graciously and as delicately as this. Even in the most tumultuous of situations, Patti holds such a sublime literacy that it was genuinely difficult to put the book down before completion.
To see a unique insight to the life and times of those such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin was also an astute pleasure. There’s such a romance to all stories she tells, be it fleeting encounters or the departure from the love of her life. While poetry is an artform I don’t particularly revel in, the sheer power her grasp on the written word has is the true highlight of this book.
Ultimately, I agree with my friend. I read this story hoping for another outcome. But, I knew how this ended. This is not fiction that you can conclude with whichever happy ending you choose; this is a real story, told in the most beautiful of ways. I may not revel in love stories – in fact, I try to avoid them as best I can – but this was a truly unique insight to a duo determined to make their lives exactly what they wanted. Even through some horrendous moments, they stayed true to themselves and true to their art.
I could keep on typing… I really could. I think I may have found a new favourite book. While I was familiar with Patti Smith going into this, I had no idea how wonderful and strong a person she is; nor did I know how tumultuous and unpredictable much of her life had been. I give huge respect to her for not only telling the tale of her and Robert’s journey together, but telling it in such a beautiful and frank way.
I’ll stop myself now. Frankly, this was sublime.