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Book Review: 'Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography'

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Cobbled together largely from other people’s interviews, this unauthorized bio can’t decide if it’s a sober assessment of punk diva Patti Smith’s artistic talent, an act of vengeance by the disgruntled copublisher of one of her early books, or a starry-eyed celebration of Smith’s resurrection in the ’90s. For veteran Smith fans, there are few surprises; for newcomers, this is a slice of punk history that delivers the dirt on Smith’s romantic life, from her bevy of artist boyfriends to her hard-drinking late husband to her current flame, who’s less than half as old as the 52-year-old rocker. Between Bockris’ mediocre critical powers and his secondhand sources, his account doesn’t exactly ring with insight or credibility. C