*Starred Review* Casual music-scene observers may see Ian and her remarkable music surfacing every decade or so, usually winning a handful of Grammy nominations. There’s a life between recording sessions, of course, that Ian describes with brutal honesty. An unusually intelligent child, she began writing songs very early, adored folk and protest singers Odetta and Joan Baez, but knew she didn’t look like or sound like them. Her idol, Baez, was tall and svelte; she was short and stocky, with stubborn, curly hair. Yet her 1966 hit “Society’s Child,” about interracial romance, brought her role-models’ kind of fame at 15, including hate mail and death threats. Less than a decade later, “At Seventeen,” an homage to outsiders and misfits, brought further fame while, offstage, she endured an abusive marriage, came out as lesbian, had IRS trouble, and battled chronic fatigue syndrome and other debilitating illnesses. Songwriting has been her way to express inner turmoil. She writes casually and conversationally about her ups and downs and the life lessons she learned. Even recounting decisions that were stupid (quite often) and bad things that happened to her (many), she keeps us on her side, hoping things eventually turn out well. Fans will love the book, of course, but many nonfans, too, should find this painfully candid memoir hard to put down. --June Sawyers
“Society’s Child is the hugely readable autobiography of an artist who has lived through success and crushing hardship but knows that ‘you can’t sing and cry at the same time.’ Sing on!”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Painfully candid . . . hard to put down.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“A juicily entertaining look at an unusual life in show business.”
"Deftly written, the life experiences described by Janis Ian in this engaging memoir gives us a peek into the anatomy of a brilliant songwriter'
"One of life's greatest pleasures is a book that you simply can't put down—one that transports you from start to finish as it elevates, enlightens, engages and entertains. Janis Ian gives you all this in Society's Child."
"A splendid retelling of a major life! Janis Ian is a survivor, and her book is an illuminating and inspiring read."
"Janis Ian is at once larger-than-life and excruciatingly human. In Society's Child she describes great triumphs, devastating betrayals of every kind, and her extraordinary strength of spirit shines through every page."
"A book of surpassing clarity and truth."
—Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game
"I laughed, I ached, I wept, I cheered...and ultimately was totally taken by Janis Ian's honest and deeply moving autobiography: an insightful and courageous personal account of her musical, spiritual and emotional journey."
—Noel Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul & Mary