Regular price: $24.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    581
  • 4 Stars
    285
  • 3 Stars
    121
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    35

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    663
  • 4 Stars
    201
  • 3 Stars
    70
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    18

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    535
  • 4 Stars
    266
  • 3 Stars
    111
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    29
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 03-06-18

she won me over

first time author for me. I can't say I was a Janis Ian fan before I listened to this book but I am now.

Janis was always about her music, this come clear in the book. What comes clear in the book is how the underbelly of the industry comes to the fore.

All she ever wanted to do was produce music. She trusted those around her to her fault. Most everybody she knew let her down, big time. In the end they were all leaches.

It's amazing she survived as well as she did.

This is an excellent book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Needs some energy, expression

I love Janis Ian, but the narration is so monotone that I couldn't finish the book. Disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sue
  • Williamsburg, VA, United States
  • 02-24-14

An enjoyable listen

Normally, I do not like autobiographies nor audio books with music in it, but it worked for this book. I found the book entertaining and an easy listen. Having the author play the guitar and sing parts of songs really added to the experience. A 3.5 mostly because of the audio...I don't think it would be as good in written form.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Audio Performance - Great Book

Janis Ian narrates her own book so well that I "couldn't put it down." Well done. It's a gripping biography, interesting & insightful. And Ian does a good job of sharing trauma without being maudlin. I did find the book somewhat stressful though *spoiler alert* - one story after another of pain and trauma and let-downs almost made me want to stop listening. But, as they say, it all turned out OK in the end -- though it's not the end -- she will have to put out a second book to cover the next 20 years or thereabouts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 11-04-13

This book deserves all of its awards!

What made the experience of listening to Society's Child the most enjoyable?

This is a full-on audio book experience. The fact that Audible chose to produce it was an incredible choice on their part. With Janice Ian singing and playing her own songs, even going so far as to reenact the process of writing a song... words just cannot express how amazing this book is.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Society's Child?

There were so many! I couldn't pick just one!

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

The music, the singing, the emotions as she recounts the joys and sorrows in her own life... this book is incredible

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

Yes! I squirreled away time as often as possible to finish this book.

Any additional comments?

Better reviewers than I have put into words the incredible experience of listening to this book - I will not overshadow them. This is the story of rags to riches to rags, of pain, of joy... download this book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing & Inspirational

Janet Ian is a truly amazing person. Her talent as a signer, guitarist and song writer is obvious by her music but she's also a great writer. The road to success and back again is inspirational, even to those of us who lack musical talent. I especially liked how she blended her songs into the book, something I've found lacking in other biographies about musicians. She definitely deserved the Grammy for this performance!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • carol
  • Katonah, NY, United States
  • 03-25-13

poignant narration and vocal presentation

What did you love best about Society's Child?

Wonderful singing by Janis

What was one of the most memorable moments of Society's Child?

Her ability to recover from her lowest moments.

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

Her amazing voice.

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

Disaster breeds emotional and physical strength.

Any additional comments?

One of my favorite listening experiences!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matoaka
  • Harpers Ferry, WV USA
  • 04-11-13

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 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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 5 people found this review helpful