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Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry

by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

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Well written ( )
  SBG1962 | Aug 2, 2019 |
Brennan-Jobs is the first daughter of Steve Jobs, born out of wedlock in the 1970s and unacknowledged by him for the first years of her life. This book is about her childhood from birth through her entrance to Harvard with a small coda that takes place during her adulthood around the time of Jobs' death.

The book feels like a brain dump of all her memories, interesting or not. Mixed emotions are part of virtually every paragraph - her mixed feelings towards her father, her mother, and theirs towards her. Nothing congeals. Steve is a weirdo. Her mother tries but is overstressed by life as a single mother. Lisa bats from house to house, and nothing gets better. The story lacked "narrative arc." her childhood wasn't bad enough for this really to stand as a "victory over adversity" novel. It's just an inside peek at someone's childhood, someone who happened to be related to somebody famous. It got tiresome. ( )
1 vote Tytania | Jul 19, 2019 |
"You smell like a toilet."

Lisa Brennan-Jobs is Steve Jobs' eldest child, the one he didn't mean to have with his high school girlfriend and the one he spent years denying was his. But regardless of what Steve Jobs intended, Lisa Brennan-Jobs is here, and she has an awful lot to say.

Small Fry is a stunning memoir, in large part because Brennan-Jobs is an astonishing writer. She deftly captures emotion and description in the loveliest of words, painting a complex picture of a childhood spent circling an enigmatic and difficult father.

There's a bit of a cult of personality surrounding Steve Jobs, in part because he died so young, but largely because he encouraged and developed that cult as part of his business model. In the seven years following his death, Hollywood has produced two movies about his life (I've seen neither but one was apparently very good, and the other starred Ashton Kutcher). I never subscribed to that cult. I've only been aware of Steve Jobs as a tech company figure on par in my general interest with Bill Gates, which is to say pretty low. So while I have no doubt that plenty of people will enjoy Small Fry for the salacious details on such a famous modern figure (he made his teenage daughter hand wash the dishes instead of fixing the dishwasher! he wouldn't buy a sofa! He kicked his daughter out of the house because she wouldn't go to the circus with him!), that wasn't really the main draw for me.

Because honestly, you could enjoy Small Fry entirely divorced from the concept of Steve Jobs as a famous figure. Because Small Fry isn't about growing up as the daughter of a minor celebrity. It's about growing up as the daughter of a very difficult person who wasn't ready for parenthood and demonstrated that lack of readiness in spades. It's a universal story, and that makes it memorable.

I think Small Fry will stick around in the cultural memory. I hope it does. And I hope Brennan-Jobs continues to write. She has enormous talent. ( )
1 vote miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
Small Fry is Lisa Brennan-Jobs' memoir about growing up as the daughter of Steve Jobs. Lisa's parents never married and Jobs didn't really acknowledge that Lisa was his daughter for many years. Over time Jobs spends more time with Lisa but is unable to provide a terribly loving or nurturing relationship that one would hope for from a parent. Life at home with Brennan is not ideal either but Lisa makes the most of it since this is the only life she knows. Having read Isaacson's biography on Jobs which did not leave me with a high opinion of Jobs, it was very interesting to hear Lisa's perspective. In my opinion, she is a very forgiving daughter. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Apr 11, 2019 |
Interesting read but I felt it was without a real arc. I was left wondering why this memoir and why now? ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
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"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 a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents' fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is an enthralling book by an insightful new literary voice."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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