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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

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  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 02-18-13
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 02-18-13 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Remarkable Life, Recounted with Candor"

    Celebrity autobiographies always seem better to me if they are narrated by the celebrity. In Society's Child, Janis Ian reads her own story. While she is not a practiced or dramatic narrator, hearing the book in her own voice increases the listener's personal experience of the events Ian has gone through. As an added bonus, each time the text refers to or discusses a particular song of hers (including at the beginning of each chapter) Ms Ian plays the guitar and sings at least a few bars of the song.

    She has led an interesting, and not always very happy, life. Born in 1951 during the McCarthy Commie-hunting days, she had to move with her family from place to place in the New York/New Jersey area because her parents' left-leaning politics made them targets of the FBI and similar organizations, and her father had to keep changing teaching jobs. When she was 13, she wrote "Society's Child," and was touring with the song by the time she was 15. At many of those performances she was baited and threatened by people in the audience, accused of being a "n____-lover". Hard to take when you're 15.

    Janis Ian went through a number of travails, many of which seem to have been the result of youth and a too-trusting nature. Several times in her adult life, she ended up close to penniless, and had to scramble to make a living. At the age of 27 she married a Portuguese man who turned out to be both emotionally and physically abusive. Getting out of that marriage while dealing with the IRS over taxes that were never paid by her tax accountant was slow and grueling. Eventually she found the woman who has been her partner for many years, and life has become brighter and fulfilling.

    Of course not all of the book is dark. There are many interesting stories, including her meetings and friendships with Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, and the legendary acting coach Stella Adler; and the background and writing of "At Seventeen." And she discusses the happy times in her life.

    A number of times in this book, Ian says that she often did not ask for help or even discuss many of her problems because those matters were too personal and she was very uncomfortable discussing personal things. After a number of years in therapy, she was able in her autobiography to reveal and discuss highly personal matters, and she was able to read them in this recording. In the end, what you get from this book is the story of a strong, brave woman who has been through a lot and has managed to reach a balance in her life. Well worth a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 02-12-13
    John 02-12-13
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    "Well done"

    Really enjoyed this audiobook and the story of Janis Ian. Highly recommend to anyone with an interest in singer/songwriters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 05-15-17
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    "Not my cup of tea"

    I listened through several hours, but right from from the beginning and continuing on, this memoir had nothing that I was keen about having told to me. I learned how it was that: pop-rock music of the late 50s had no value because its purpose wasn't "to change the world;" her father did not get a certain teaching job, but someone else got it - rather than the other way around; she had a series of disgusting experiences at the hands of a perverted dentist; *and*, when she was at summer camp she tongue kissed - with a boy - for the first time ... and "it was *sticky*!"

    That was it for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay Flan 03-24-17
    Kay Flan 03-24-17
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    "Inspiring life story"

    This book has so many surprises in it and insights about the same time period in which I was beginning some independence from family, attending college, and finding music an important part of inspiration and entertainment (in that order). Janis was a true communicator of truth in her work and her life. Hearing the story behind the scenes of a public figure that has this pure and genuine touch is inspiring on a whole new level! The ups and downs of life and the innocence or naïveté of someone caught in two worlds is revealed in such a stirring account. Many any could relate at many levels. As a visual artist I have been affected on a deep level myself, inspired to rethink my approach to my work and what it may mean to others and how I could make it more available and affordable for those who love art and need it for their own heartfelt reasons.
    In gratitude to Janis
    PF

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-18-16
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    "Getting to know an icon."

    This is how audio books shine. Narrated by an icon with song segment highlights. Can't imagine that reading the text would be nearly as gratifying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda K. Neville 07-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Needs some energy, expression"

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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. North 07-03-16
    S. North 07-03-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Unexpectedly Candid"

    I first became a Janis Ian fan as a teenager in the last 70s and have always loved her music. I was raised by a gay mother in a time when it was not acceptable at all to be gay.

    As a 51 year old adult, I could identify so vividly with her struggles and life challenges. I had no idea how intelligent she is, how vast her life experience and what a talented writer she is.

    I hated having to pause the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kentucky Woman Louisville, KY United States 06-26-16
    Kentucky Woman Louisville, KY United States 06-26-16 Member Since 2009
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    "An amazing story"
    Any additional comments?

    Janis Ian does a beautiful job of narrating her life story - and what a story it is! She has been through numerous ups and downs, but she never indulges in self-pity or bitterness as she recalls her past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra 06-23-16
    Debra 06-23-16 Member Since 2014
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    "A song of a story"

    Janis Ian has lived a life filled with every sorrow and joy you can imagine (except one). As one of the deepest songwriters of our generation, it is no surprise that she can write and narrate her own story with warmth and honesty. I met her at the Tucson Festival of Books in 2010. Now, knowing more, I am so happy she is happy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allen R. Batson Rixeyville, VA 06-11-16
    Allen R. Batson Rixeyville, VA 06-11-16 Member Since 2015
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    "wonderful autobiography"

    Janis Ian Chronicles her rise to fame and the depths of her struggles with the trials ofJob. Heart rending and highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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