A frank, smart and captivating memoir by the daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
About the Book
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.
“An exquisitely rendered story of family, love, and identity…a stunningly beautiful study of parenting that just so happens to include the co-founder of Apple.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Brennan-Jobs’s narrative is tinged with awe, yearning, and disappointment… Bringing the reader into the heart of the child who admired Jobs’s genius, craved his love, and feared his unpredictability.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“Brennan-Jobs skillfully relays her past without judgement . . . staying true to her younger self. It is a testament to her fine writing and journalistic approach that her memoir never turns maudlin or gossipy. Rather than a celebrity biography, this is Brennan-Jobs’s authentic story of growing up in two very different environments, neither of which felt quite like home.”—Booklist (starred review)
“As clear-eyed, amusing, honest, unsentimental and sad as any memoir I’ve read in years. The prose sparkles, the vision behind it is ruefully compassionate and wise. No other book or film has captured Steve Jobs as distinctly as this one has. The love between father and daughter, thwarted and baffled as it often is, comes through beautifully.”—Phillip Lopate
“Here is a literary coming-of-age memoir of the highest order, the story of a child trying to find her place between two radically different parents, identities, and worlds. Compassionate, wise, and filled with finely-wrought detail, Small Fry is a wonder of a book, and Lisa Brennan-Jobs is a wonder of a writer.”—Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon
“A gorgeous, compelling work of art and a dazzling coming-of-age story. This is a lovely, sweetly intimate portrait, a story told through the eyes of a daughter whose father struggled with his own origins—and who almost became the father she hoped he would be.” —Susan Cheever
Before this, during years in which we hardly spoke, I’d seen his picture everywhere. Seeing the pictures gave me a strange zing. The feeling was similar to catching myself in a mirror across a room and thinking it was someone else, then realizing it was my own face: There he was, peering out from magazines and newspapers and screens in whatever city I was in. That is my father and no one knows it but it’s true.
Before I said goodbye, I went to the bathroom to mist one more time. The spray was natural, which meant that over the course of a few minutes it no longer smelled sharp like roses, but fetid and stinky like a swamp, although I didn’t realize it at the time.
As I came into his room, he was getting into a standing position. I watched him gather both his legs in one arm, twist himself ninety degrees by pushing against the headboard with the other arm, and then use both arms to hoist his own legs over the edge of the bed and onto the floor. When we hugged, I could feel his vertebrae, his ribs. He smelled musty, like medicine sweat.
“I’ll be back soon,” I said.
We detached, and I started walking away.
“You smell like a toilet.”