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Society’s Child: My Autobiography

(Penguin), by Janis Ian

Nov. 21, 2008
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Janis Ian's autobiography, Society's Child, is an interesting read about mid-20th-century New York culture, including McCarthy-style oppression and overt racism, but she really should hire a fact-checker. Although the book serves as a wide-eyed account of show business in the 1960s and '70s, it's difficult to fully believe Ian's recollections because she makes numerous errors about the music scene. Ian states that Sam the Sham headlined Shea Stadium and The Blues Project morphed into the Chicago Transit Authority. Neither is correct. Ian had two memorable hits: the book's title song and the haunting "At Seventeen." Like her body of work, this book has many pleasant moments but is primarily a second-tier reflection.

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