I am one of a generation of girls who was traumatized by the Janis Ian song “At Seventeen.” It was so agonizingly, heart-wrenchingly, completely empathetic to my life as the fat, smart girl growing up in a white-flight suburb that didn’t know what to do with me, I could actually barely stand to listen to it.
I’ve since gotten to meet Ms. Ian. She’s a science fiction fan and author and a really nice person. And for the Nebula Awards this year, she re-worked “At Seventeen” into “The Welcome Home” song. This new version is also heart-wrenchingly and completely empathetic to my now former life as the fat, smart girl growing up in a white-flight suburb, but it an entirely different way.