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Society's Child Audiobook

Society's Child: My Autobiography

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013

Grammy Award Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2013

Booklist Top 10 Biography Audiobooks

Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. An intimate portrait of an interracial relationship, "Society's Child" climbed the charts despite the fact that many radio stations across the country refused to play it because of its controversial subject matter. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career.

In this fascinating memoir of her more than 40 years in the music business, Ian chronicles how she did drugs with Jimi Hendrix, went shopping for Grammy clothes with Janis Joplin, and sang with Mel Tormé, all the while never ceasing to create unforgettable music.

In 1975, Ian's legendary "At Seventeen" earned two Grammy awards and five nominations. Her next two albums brought her worldwide platinum hits. But after seven albums in as many years, she made a conscious decision to walk away from the often grueling music business. During this period, she struggled through a difficult marriage, which ended with her then husband's attempt to destroy her, and a sudden illness that very nearly cost her her life. The hiatus from music lasted for close to a decade until, in 1993, Ian returned with the release of the Grammy-nominated Breaking Silence. Now, as she moves gracefully into her fifth decade as a recording artist and writer, Ian continues to draw large audiences around the globe.

In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.

©2008 Janis Ian (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Each chapter in this mesmerizing memoir begins with an evocative lyric read and sung by Ian, who transports listeners back in time with both words and music." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (714 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathleen Minneapolis, MN, USA 08-27-12
    Kathleen Minneapolis, MN, USA 08-27-12
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    "One of the best books of the year for me."

    Janis Ian’s narration is really a performance. She has a wonderful voice for narrating, and whenever she is talking about a particular song, she gives us samples of the song by singing it and accompanying herself with her guitar. It is really a performance. I loved this book and wondered what had happened to Janis Ian. She has had a fascinating life and she's very positive about her life. Awe-inspiring.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reader 07-20-13
    Reader 07-20-13

    reader

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    "Not my generation, but MY kind of book!"

    I adored every second of this book. I didn't know who Janis Ian was when I started it. Audible recommended it to me based on my past purchases. I'm so glad I took Audible's advice! I believe that this book won a Grammy, and I can see (and hear) why. The narration is great, the story is heart wrenching and told beautifully, and it's interesting to learn about a slice of life and a time in this country that you might not have known about before. A MUST listen!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    realdog North Carolina 06-18-13
    realdog North Carolina 06-18-13 Member Since 2015

    realdog

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    "The best autobiography I've ever encountered"
    Where does Society's Child rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book, and the incredible delivery, is so full of insights. I've never been so profoundly affected by a book before.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I wanted to drag it out and savor it. I only listen to audio books when I'm in the car or on the exercise bike.


    Any additional comments?

    This book felt so incredibly personal, read and sang by the author. Being a song writer, I think, gives here an innate sense of timing. She's an excellent writer and reader. I loved it when she said she suddenly realized that "words have color and words have feeling." Her words do.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon 05-16-13
    Sharon 05-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Wow!!!!!"
    Would you listen to Society's Child again? Why?

    I'm sure that I will read this over many times over the years. The story has tremendous impact and is a psychological roller coaster.


    What did you like best about this story?

    She tells it like it is, the good, the bad and the ugly. She also includes insight as to how she developed her songs. She also sings verses of some of her hits. You get it all !!!


    Which character – as performed by Janis Ian – was your favorite?

    She has great control of her voice and is one of the best narrators I've listened to and I listen a lot.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely! She was inspirational and kudos to her for writing this book.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope she chooses to narrate additional books in the future

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bonnie 05-15-13
    bonnie 05-15-13
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    "Janis Ian was a triumph!"

    (Because of my age) I had never even heard of Janis Ian. I dont even remember what made me get this book, but I am glad I did.

    Her story was interesting and funny and triumphant and heartbreaking. Janis narrarated it herself, and even sang some of her songs. It made the book very heartfelt- you can even heaer her smile when she reads the happy parts.

    She was a true pioneer during the days when people were not encouraged to be different or be themselves. She overcame so much during a time when it seems people were discriminated against for EVERYTHING! Race, age, sexual orientation, looks, opinions, and all the rest. She never gave in or conformed in order to fit in. She is a role model for us all.

    This book made me realize that we have come so far in the battle for equality, and it is a credit to the brave souls like Janis Ian.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matoaka Harpers Ferry, WV USA 04-11-13
    Matoaka Harpers Ferry, WV USA 04-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "She won me over!"

    I started listening to this book based on the great reviews. At first, I was somewhat disappointed. The writing seemed a bit cliched, and Janis Ian's voice was a bit cloying. But I got curious to find out more about how her career developed, so I kept listening. By the time I finished Part 1, I was completely hooked and rooting her on. I always liked her music, but never knew anything about what happened to her after her initial early success. What a phenomenal life! Or, to be more accurate, lives (plural). The way she kept coming back from hardship, never letting go of her dreams or losing her sense of irony and humor, always believing in her talent, and even forgiving those who tried to do her in offers lessons for everyone. By the end of the book, I felt that I knew her and wished that I really did. I also went back and listened to her music again with new appreciation.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. L. Katz New York, NY USA 04-03-13
    A. L. Katz New York, NY USA 04-03-13 Member Since 2008

    ALK

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    "Tough life, but a pleasurable listen"
    What did you love best about Society's Child?

    It felt like being in a one-on-one conversation with Janis -- even if she couldn't hear my sympathetic "oh, dear, that was terrible" or "good for you" responses.


    What about Janis Ian’s performance did you like?

    The brief musical snippets served as a reminder of her songwriting talent and enhanced the overall book.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Uneasy lies the teenage head that wears a crown of musical success.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary Connecticut 10-23-12
    Hilary Connecticut 10-23-12 Member Since 2015

    avoiding road rage one book at a time...

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    "The Tale of the Phenomenal Ingenue"

    I absolutely loved everything about this book, including Janis's awesome and honest narration. She uses her stunning voice to sing the listener in to each new life chapter. Her words paint pictures, her voice sounds heavenly. GREAT story of a hard-working optimist.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.R. New Bedford 07-22-15
    D.R. New Bedford 07-22-15 Member Since 2013

    Shopper in NB

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    "The best example of narcissistic personality disorder I have ever experienced."

    Her lack of self awareness is mind-boggling. Although her arrogance is off-putting, like any train wreck, I could not look away-or stop listening.

    After hearing great reviews for her audiobook, I was truly disappointed to discover that the person who wrote "At Seventeen" was actually someone who continuously blamed others for every bad thing that happened in her life. Her lack of gratitude to the people who assisted her during her recovery from "CFS" - really? No one smart enough to play chess (I'd quote here but I can't bear to listen again for the exact wording) - was shameful.

    I would love to find a rebuttal written by at least one of the people mentioned in her book. I bet their take on life with the brilliant Janis would be a little more enlightening, even if they were written by a dim-wit, without a thesaurus.

    Next time Janis finds herself a victim, she ought to try taking a moral inventory, instead of being so quick to blame the other people in her life for her own shortcomings. Also, showing a little humility would have been refreshing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 03-28-14
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 03-28-14

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "A real survivor and heroine!"

    This is one of my favorite audible books this year. I can understand why it is nominated for an audible award. I normally don't like authors reading their own books but I make an exception in this case.

    Janis Ian opens each chapter singing one of her songs so no one else could do this book justice. I was amazed at everything this talented woman went through in her life so far. She had child abuse, marital abuse, IRS problems due to a manager that stole from her, and health issues that affected her and her family.

    This is the story of a survivor and a true heroine. When everything was going against her she was able to make it through to the other side by realizing that no one could take her talent away from her.

    I always loved her songs, now I love her as a person too.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Margaret
    United Kingdom
    6/7/13
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    "the most amasing experiance"

    Wow to me Janice Ian was the singer of the hit song 17, in this book of her life she is so much more. What a life, I am very glad she told her story.

    Thank you Janice for sharing your life story.

    Take the chance and listen you will not want to stop this story is infectious you will not regret the time spent listening,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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