When Graydon asked me—Patty Smyth—to review the new book by Patti Smith, I knew the time had finally come for this reckoning. I knew we must meet on the printed page, me and the person I’m constantly mistaken for, whose mail I’ve been receiving since I was 17 and living in the East Village. In the late 70s only our mail crossed paths—we never met in person. I was not part of the punk-art scene, although I did have a brief marriage to one of its godfathers.
Patti’s new book, Year of the Monkey, is about her 69th year, a journey that speaks to many of us—those with more years behind us than in front. She walks a lot through old and new haunts, reflecting on her relationships and trying to navigate this terrain of wisdom and loss that is called life as we get older.