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12 August 2011

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Hey, C.R.

I borrowed it from the library yesterday (to take on my trip which you will hear all about), and a coworker saw it on the desk and said she loved it. She was surprised at how sweet her voice was in the book especially since it's a contrast of her physical appearance. I guess the book cover thing is true. I'm looking forward to reading it as well as some of your other suggestions.

My book group read this one, interestingly the youngest person in the room was not a fan, esp. of all of the dropping of famous names. I was more familiar with Mapplethorp than Smith. I thought she tried hard to make Mapplethorp a sympathetic and likeable character, I suspect he was not. He aggressively forced his way into the art world and anyone who was a successful as he was had to have a tremendous drive and willingness to take advantage of others, including Patti who basically supported him for a long time while he developed his art. This is a great book for a discussion, especially when there is a range of ages in a group.
I would have never picked this up without the book group, I am glad I read it, although I would not rate it quite as highly as you do.

Venta my dear!
I finally read "Monstrumologist" the other day, can you believe it?!? Thanks so much--I enjoyed it and will post about it later.
I can't wait to hear about your trip, and about what you think on this one. I think "sweet" was a fair word--Smith's voice was definitely the highlight here. I'll admit, I just got a real charge out of HER and her, for lack of a better term, moxie.

Mary,
I'll admit I don't know much about Mapplethorpe, but I do think it came through here that he was always quite interested in fame, the "life of the artist," money, etc. She points that out when she describes how they were always going to the "it" places she didn't necessarily need to go, like Andy Warhol's hangout, etc.
I think something in their natures just answered each other, although they were quite different. I must admit there were many moments when I wasn't fond of him at all. But weirdly that was part of the magic of this book--Smith learning when she had to, for lack of a better phrase, move on (although they kept some kind of connection all the way to the end). He won me back a little bit when he photographed Smith and her daughter in the late 80s and told Patti her daughter was beautiful (or perfect, I think maybe, I forget exactly). I think she always trusted his artist's eye so I'll bet that meant a lot to her.

Anyway. Yes. Clearly a book about which there is a lot to discuss.

Also, I didn't mind the name-dropping--especially when someone had to tell her the guy she was seeing was famous playwright Sam Shepard. She never really made me feel like she was in it for the names, just for their skills as artists.

I absolutely must read this book!

Bybee,
Yes, you must. Let me know what you think if you do!

Beth,
Thanks for the link! I think I'd heard this and forgotten it already--I'll be interested to see how they make it into a movie.

Don't you wish you could have been a fly on the wall at the Chelsea Hotel?

I had a similar reaction - I now love Patti and didn't have much knowledge of her at all before reading this.

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