A frank, smart and captivating memoir by the daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Born on a farm and named in a field by her parents—artist Chrisann Brennan and Steve Jobs—Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be.
Small Fry is Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s poignant story of childhood and growing up. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide, marveling at the particular magic of growing up in this family, in this place and time, while grappling with her feelings of illegitimacy and shame. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is an enthralling story by an insightful new literary voice.
In her incisive debut memoir, writer Brennan-Jobs explores her upbringing as the daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan, an artist and writer (the couple never married). The book opens with Jobs's deteriorating health from cancer, but the author quickly backtracks to her early childhood, filling in details of her birth (including Jobs's initial denial of paternity, a claim debunked through DNA testing). Brennan-Jobs's narrative is tinged with awe, yearning, and disappointment. Initially, Brennan-Jobs lived with her mother, who supplemented welfare with waitressing and cleaning houses. In time, Jobs became interested in his daughter, and in high school Brennan-Jobs lived with him, becoming the go-to babysitter for his son with his wife, Laurene Powell. Later, when Brennan-Jobs declined a family trip to the circus, Jobs, citing family disloyalty, asked her to move out and stopped payment on her Harvard tuition (a kindly friend offered aid, which Jobs later repaid). Bringing the reader into the heart of the child who admired Jobs's genius, craved his love, and feared his unpredictability, Brennan-Jobs writes lucidly of happy times, as well as of her loneliness in Jobs's spacious home where he refuses to bid her good-night. On his deathbed, his apology for the past soothes, she writes, "like cool water on a burn." This sincere and disquieting portrait reveals a complex father-daughter relationship.
If you’re interested in Steve Jobs, read this book.
If you are interested in family dynamics, read this book.
Complex and moving portraiture.
An exquisite, deeply emotional tale. It must have been an extraordinary challenge to write so tenderly about this unique father-daughter relationship. Brennan-Jobs nails the balance: her mother and father are neither heroes nor villains; but deeply flawed, yet loving human beings. And she in turn is vivid and wondrous as she’s pulled in impossible directions. Recommended.
Well written flows as if Lisa is in the room speaking .