Smith’s memoir is all about her life and relationship with Mapplethorpe. It also focuses on how they survived while waiting for their big artistic breaks, how others viewed them and their relationship and how they interacted with their family and friends. I’ve only read through about a third of the book so far, so right now Smith and Mapplethorpe are still struggling to try and make it in the art industry.
Out of everything I’ve read so far, the thing that appeals to me the most is the attention to details when it comes to the boroughs of New York City. It’s always cool to read about how celebrities’ old stomping grounds are where some of us live right now. I particularly enjoyed when the couple took the subway over to Coney Island and had an original Nathan’s dog with some of the money they saved up. There’s nothing like classic fast food Americana to get you feeling nostalgic!
As I read through the rest of the book, I realize that Smith and Mapplethorpe weren’t the only people who were living off spare change around that time. There were many other struggling artists who just wanted to break into the industry of that choice. As my main interest in college (and future work) is filmmaking, it’s always unsettling to hear stories about young men and women who spend time working on artistic projects and believing things will change the next day only to not get realized and lose their homes, friends and jobs. Despite the startling nature, this theme of struggle creates a very real NYC feeling as well as gives a sense of the times back then.
And to be honest, I still don’t know why they made a video game about pictures of flowers. Haha!