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Society's Child: My Autobiography | [Janis Ian]

Society's Child: My Autobiography

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. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career. 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.
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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)

More from the same

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (525 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elyssa Secunda, South Africa 01-29-14
    Elyssa Secunda, South Africa 01-29-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    "Fantastic!"
    What did you love best about Society's Child?

    I loved the parts where Janis played her own songs and filled in the story with music.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Janis


    What does Janis Ian bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    You cannot read the book, it is specifically a audio book because there are musical sections incorporated with her story.


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

    If I could, I would have. I was listening to it in the car... at some points I did not want to get out of my car.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor New York, NY 01-08-14
    Taylor New York, NY 01-08-14 Member Since 2011

    "If 'tis a sin, I don't give a Fiddler's fart!" -Frank McCourt.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW just wow."

    By far one of the best autobiography books I've ever read. Janis did a wonderful job narrating the story, also hearing her sing was a wonderful touch.

    I loved it so much, that after finishing the book I went on iTunes and purchased a couple of the songs.

    Such a wonderful, fascinating story. I'm glad I took a chance on this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb West Pennant Hills, Australia 01-03-14
    Deb West Pennant Hills, Australia 01-03-14

    Wife, mother, nanna, part time actor, avid reader, world traveller, golfer, bridge player, lover of life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Janis Ian lives again"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Society's Child to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the book but Janis Ian takes you on a journey into the world of Entertainment and it's darker side.


    What other book might you compare Society's Child to and why?

    I can't compare this book to any I have heard before


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed Janis giving us introductions to chapters with her own singing and guitar prowess


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Janis Ian was in a brutal relationship with a man and despite her knowing it was wrong she couldn't break free from this scumbag for many years. I found this part of her story very moving and heartbreaking.


    Any additional comments?

    This story is full of all the emotions that you can experience. I am glad that Janis Ian is back, I grew up with her music. I am happy she is in a stable relationship and is having a good life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl United States 11-24-13
    Carl United States 11-24-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Always Someone Else's Fault"

    I should like this as I like many music biographies, given the large number of excellent reviews. While the narration was fine, the story was marred for me by blaming anyone but herself for any setbacks. Maybe it's because, other than a couple songs, I'm not really a fan of her music. Don't regret trying the audiobook,but didn't finish.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kanoe Honolulu, HI, United States 11-14-13
    Kanoe Honolulu, HI, United States 11-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Music Included!"
    Where does Society's Child rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5 of the audio books I've downloaded and listened to. The best part was hearing her sing her songs and watch her creative process as she gives birth to her songs. The back story in other words. I found it fascinating.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was impressed by her ability to keep going on in life when it seemed that everything was being taken away from her. They could never take away her talent and creativity. Janis Ian is a survivor.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked her voice as the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan 11-10-13
    Jonathan 11-10-13 Member Since 2015
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    "wow"
    Where does Society's Child rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    very gripping


    What did you like best about this story?

    it filled in a lot of gaps


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

    was to emotional for a single sitting


    Any additional comments?

    You never really understand the story behind the stage face. What a story. Fame certainly does have a price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Enzel Chevy Chase, MD USA 09-05-13
    David Enzel Chevy Chase, MD USA 09-05-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Best Audiobook I have ever heard"

    This is hands down the best audiobook I have heard -- and I have listened to many. I preface this by saying that I knew almost nothing about Janis Ian before listening to this book and certainly wasn't a fan of her iconic music. Even so, this audiobook is a work of art. Ian’s voice is seductive. Ian is heartbreakingly frank in describing her life. She's made many mistakes and doesn't try to gloss those over. When she discusses her music she plays a few bars which adds immensely to the listening experience. While listening to the book I explored Ian’s music and listened to a lot of it and understand her music more fully now because of her explanations. It is easy to see why this book won a Grammy award. It is a moving book that is beautifully performed. Ian has shown what a great audiobook can be. I am now a fan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denys Torrensville Plaza, Australia 08-22-13
    Denys Torrensville Plaza, Australia 08-22-13 Member Since 2013
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    "THE BEST AUDIO BOOK I HAVE PURCHASED"
    If you could sum up Society's Child in three words, what would they be?

    beautifully written/read produced, Love everything about this book!


    What other book might you compare Society's Child to and why?

    Has the candidness and honesty of Dylans "Chronicals Vol 1" but with the wonderful intimacy of being read by Ian herself WONDERFUL!


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

    Herself


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Deeply moved!


    Any additional comments?

    Do yourself a favor, buy it now!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn 08-18-13
    Carolyn 08-18-13
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    "Entertaining autobiography especially for Boomers"

    Autobiographies are a favorite of mine particularly when they are read by the author. Her performance and singing added poignant depth. Music, fame, searching for love and overcoming repeated betrayals and setbacks is heartbreaking. It is the story of one woman and its the story of all women who struggled through feminist equality from the 50s through the 70s: a time Boomers will recall and appreciate the change we see today thanks to activists who weren't and aren't satisfied with conserving the status quo. Janis was one of those change agents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve 08-02-13
    Steve 08-02-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "SIng to me Janis"
    If you could sum up Society's Child in three words, what would they be?

    Souful, historical, redemption


    What did you like best about this story?

    That Janis read it herself and introduced most of the chapters in song


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where the bigots left the auditorium


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really, but Janis is now as much a hero for me as the "other" Janis is the voice of "g-d".


    Any additional comments?

    Heart wrenching at times and it emerges as a story that reflects the tremendous social upheaval in our times- so glad Ian has found a joyful life after so much wonderful work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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