Patti Smith Memoir Wins National Book Award: Read Lanie Tankard's Beautiful Review

Yea, Patti Smith, winner of the National Book Award in nonfiction for her memoir, Just Kids!

Yea Women’s Memoirs! Yea, Lanie Tankard!

Women’s Memoirs is a great place for readers and writers of memoir. I have featured the work of Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett, who maintain this great site, in past posts. We share a fabulous guest reviewer–Lanie Tankard (see her reviews and other guest blogs located on this site here). This morning’s news about Patti Smith winning the National Book Award for nonfiction has coincided with Lanie’s review at Women’s Memoirs. Great timing!

Lanie’s review focuses on Patti Smith’s voice. She weaves her own memoir together with Patti’s. She even ends the review with a picture of herself in 1973–at the same age Patti and her dear Robert Mapplethorpe were “just kids.”

Lanie, this is your best review ever! Congratulations.

Readers, after you read Lanie’s review, what would you like to say to her? If you are old enough to remember the 70’s yourself, do you have a memory you’d like to share?

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Shirley Showalter


  1. B. Lynn Goodwin on November 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I’m so glad I found out about Patti Smith’s memoir and the wonderful voice in it. Voice can transform any story into something original and compelling. It makes me care about the characters and stakes. I hope I’ll get to read this one soon.

    B. Lynn Goodwin
    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

    • Lanie Tankard on November 20, 2010 at 5:37 am

      You’re so right, Lynn. Voice can really grab a reader by the lapels. I’m fascinated by it, and the process we each have to go through to find our own unique voices. What’s right for one person is not necessarily right for another. I’m sure Shirley would like you to return and post your thoughts on Patti Smith’s memoir here once you read it. I know I would!

      • shirleyhs on November 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm

        Yes indeed! I’m off to check out your blog, Lynn. Please do come back and tell us what you think.

  2. Richard Gilbert on November 20, 2010 at 12:50 am

    What a beautiful review! It really makes me want to read the book, and to be as sensitive as Lanie, as receptive. I remember seeing Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and the Rolling Thunder Review in 1976 in Gainesville, Florida. The music of the 70s was great, but I didn’t appreciate it enough–I’d grown up with it and had no real standard to gauge the outpouring, from the Beatles onward. But, truth be told, I hated the 70s; America seemed trashed and shaken and lost after the 60s. Of course, I was those things, so maybe that’s just a projection!

  3. Lanie Tankard on November 20, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Go Gators! You know, I don’t know how I missed Patti Smith’s music at the time, because I’m completely blown away by it now. I think “My Blakean Year” is marvelous, on her Trampin’ album. I’m simply amazed by the breadth of her artistic ability in so many venues. Richard, I hope you do read the book, and then return to share your thoughts about it.

    • shirleyhs on November 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      I’m off to hunt for “My Blakean Year” on iTunes. I remember the 70’s as a grim period in the external world and a happy time in my own life. Come to think of it, I often feel like that. When I am disheartened by war and politics and media now, I need to remember all the terrible times of the past.

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