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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)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (474 )
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Performance
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  •  
    11-10-13
    11-10-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    18
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    Story
    "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 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    ratings
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    12
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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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    51
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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
  •  
    Carter Merkle Norman, OK United States 07-04-13
    Carter Merkle Norman, OK United States 07-04-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Refreshing candor enriches this story."
    If you could sum up Society's Child in three words, what would they be?

    Honest, candid, personal


    What about Janis Ian’s performance did you like?

    Nobody else could perform this book as well as the author, with guitar in hand.


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

    This book had moments when it drew out laughter and tears.


    Any additional comments?

    Janis Ian's tale is told in a well-organized manner that grips the reader and sheds light on each of our lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronda Batesville, IN, United States 10-10-13
    Ronda Batesville, IN, United States 10-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Struggled to get through it"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    As accomplished as Janice is, I just didnt feel the story was that interesting. I dont want that to take away from any of her struggles or accomplishments. I didnt feel she was very effective as a the narrator either.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 09-18-13
    Jennifer 09-18-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Does the victim part ever end?"
    Would you try another book from Janis Ian and/or Janis Ian?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Does the victim part ever end? In a word, No. At least, as far as I could make myself read, which was well over halfway. I kept thinking, "She's going to change, she's going to get it and make something better of her life..." Unfortunately, most of the book is the same victim story told and retold and retold again. I just couldn't bear to read another variation and finally gave up. I was hoping for a great story - and the cultural references in the art and music world were fun to reflect upon, but they couldn't make up for the same story told by the same voice over and over again. Sorry, Janis.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 08-14-13
    Susan 08-14-13

    This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring Self-Serving Story During an Important Time"

    I don't know if there are many people that will agree with me, but this story is about a woman very proud of herself. That, by itself, might not be so bad, but this had all the "I was", "I did", and "I knew and met" you might expect from someone raised by a very liberal family during a time of national struggle for equality. The story includes drugs, sex, and many disturbing scenes that are just glossed over by this writer.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Borger, TX, United States 05-02-13
    Tammy Borger, TX, United States 05-02-13
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    "Not as good as I expected"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I did not realize how dysfuntional Janis Ian was\is. It left me with less admiration for her. I thought her sexual life was too overdone, and I am no prude. It makes one wonder who someone with such intelligence and talent could make such bad choices over and over again! Just a disapointing story. I found it hard to have smypathy for her when it seemed obvious she made her choices with eyes wide open.
    Too much dysfunctional garbage.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Society's Child?

    The constant minage a trios! Way way too much! Just more than I needed to know!


    Any additional comments?

    Sadly, I really would not recommend this book

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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