150 pages into her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, Patti Smith expresses an interest in alchemy. She recalls working on an illustrated poem called Alchemical Roll Call, a present for a friend. Just Kids is a work of alchemy, too, a personal account of her time spent in New York in the 1960s and 70s, focusing specifically on her incredible relationship/creative partnership with fellow artist and spirit Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith’s hasn’t been an easy life, especially during the time of her creative flowering. Financial worries, as well as social anxiety within the mythical art and poetry scenes, marked her young adulthood. But so did bliss. Smith somehow makes the reader feel attracted to the lifestyle she candidly describes, even though it’s filled with risks, occasionally deprivation. The only kind of security Smith ever knew wasn’t financial, but personal: the love and support of fellow artists, her family, and, most of all, Robert. She writes about him, about the world entire, with boundless compassion and love. Her writing makes a great case for the divine. Just Kids is told with great wisdom, hard-won, by one of America’s finest and truest voices. It’s a gift I can’t wait to open again and again.