Quick Book Review: “Year of the Monkey” by Patti Smith

In this (very) unique book, we follow Patti’s year of wandering in the year of the monkey, according to the Chinese zodiac.  It’s part memoir (as she talks of concerts, museum visits, politics, the hospitalization and subsequent death of her friend Sandy Pearlman), part fiction (conversations with hotel signs), and I dunno… part fever dream?  If you’re looking for any particular plot or any linearity at all, forget it.  She drifts back and forth from actual reality to her own personal reality, and your best bet is to not try to make sense of it and just enjoy the amazing writing.  Her words and the way she uses them are mesmerizing.  As she meanders from San Francisco to Kentucky to New York to Virginia Beach, you get drawn along in a heady stream of hallucinatory and hypnotic words.  It felt like a modern version of On The Road.  Mystical and dreamy, filled with adventure.  I got lost in it, and I loved it.  

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