Small Fry

Small Fry

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 p...

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Title:Small Fry
Author:Lisa Brennan-Jobs
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Edition Language:English

Small Fry Reviews

  • librarianka

    This is a very well written and a very interesting memoir about the complex, distant father that Steve Jobs was to Lisa Brennan. The book joins its great predecessors such as the Educated: a memoir by Tara Westover or We are all shipwrecks: a memoir by Kelly Grey Carlisle that are non-fiction books that read like fiction. All the parts that make a great and compelling read are in place: an unusual and intriguing story, very high quality of writing and editing, maturity of the author able to tran

    This is a very well written and a very interesting memoir about the complex, distant father that Steve Jobs was to Lisa Brennan. The book joins its great predecessors such as the Educated: a memoir by Tara Westover or We are all shipwrecks: a memoir by Kelly Grey Carlisle that are non-fiction books that read like fiction. All the parts that make a great and compelling read are in place: an unusual and intriguing story, very high quality of writing and editing, maturity of the author able to transcend her experience and personal suffering and able to present an analytical, well-balanced piece of writing that is completely gripping. We cannot avoid rooting for the protagonist of this story and we get the satisfaction by observing how in spite of great adversity, she grows, matures, comes into her own. Lisa Brennan gives justice to the complexity of her father and presents a portrait that is far from simplistic and at the same time very vivid, clear and oddly in accordance with his own rules of esthetics: sparse and minimalistic, devoid of sentimentality. The subject matter of the story, the distant, at times cruel or even malicious father and the daughter who keeps seeking his approval, acceptance, admiration, love and who is denied this love by the parent, will resonate with many readers. The act of describing of the process of her coming into her own and moving beyond the negative formative experiences and its product - the book offers hope and might be as therapeutic to readers as it has been to its writer. As to the question posed many times: was Lisa, the first computer, named after the daughter of Steve Jobs? Yes and no. Watch 2015 documentary Steve Jobs the Man in the Machine to find out. Excellent and highly recommended book that could be material for a new film all together.

  • Carolyn

    The headline of the NYT review referred to Steve Jobs as a "terrible dad" but the book is so much more than a smear of Jobs as a parent or human. He was, most certainly a difficult, deeply flawed human but in her beautiful memoir, Lisa Brennan-Jobs is graceful, not bitter. She reveals the wounds inflicted by both parents and her longing to belong in her two families, in school, and in a world she was too young to understand. Any child of divorced parents will recognize her complex and confusing

    The headline of the NYT review referred to Steve Jobs as a "terrible dad" but the book is so much more than a smear of Jobs as a parent or human. He was, most certainly a difficult, deeply flawed human but in her beautiful memoir, Lisa Brennan-Jobs is graceful, not bitter. She reveals the wounds inflicted by both parents and her longing to belong in her two families, in school, and in a world she was too young to understand. Any child of divorced parents will recognize her complex and confusing emotions. Readers who have loved a visionary driven to create or change the world will keenly understand her roller coaster ride, tremendous pride in the achievements of the one you love, alternating with frustration that even though they give so much to the world they are often incapable of being present for the family. Every parent who has the courage to honestly acknowledge their own flaws, successes, and failures will have at least a little empathy for Jobs and Lisa's mother, Chrisann. Finally, anyone who lived in Palo Alto in the 80's and 90's will enjoy the references to the town when it was quirkier and, IMO, more interesting than it is today. The description of The Good Earth may have been worth the price of the book. This is a moving coming-of-age story more than a goldmine for Steve Jobs fanboys or those who want to scorn the rich and famous. I loved it and am giving to my daughter.

  • Elyse

    Audiobook....narrated by Eileen Stevens

    “I’m one of the most important people you will ever know”....

    Who talks like that?...to your 3 year old daughter?

    But ... it’s TRUE!!! Steve Jobs ‘was’ the most important person Lisa Brennan-Jobs knew growing up. He was her ‘daddy’.

    Can we laugh now?

    Of course we see the sadness.

    Lisa grew up in the distant shadows of one of the most well known names on the planet - computer genius - Steve Jobs.

    But......

    Must this be a serious review?

    Sorry - read other revie

    Audiobook....narrated by Eileen Stevens

    “I’m one of the most important people you will ever know”....

    Who talks like that?...to your 3 year old daughter?

    But ... it’s TRUE!!! Steve Jobs ‘was’ the most important person Lisa Brennan-Jobs knew growing up. He was her ‘daddy’.

    Can we laugh now?

    Of course we see the sadness.

    Lisa grew up in the distant shadows of one of the most well known names on the planet - computer genius - Steve Jobs.

    But......

    Must this be a serious review?

    Sorry - read other reviews for ‘serious’. You’ll find plenty of opinions. Lisa was either authentic and wonderful or vindictive... or .. or... or... ‘whatever’!!

    Depends on readers points of views.

    I won’t loose any sleep feeling sorry for Lisa.

    Everyone- Steve Jobs -Lisa - Lisa’s mother, Chrisann, their parents friends, Lisa’s friends ... ‘everyone’ was flawed.

    Silicon Valley isn’t exactly flawless - either. We have a housing shortage- yet Apple and Google - both - continue to build spaceship- type companies employing thousands and thousands of workers.

    Lisa’s childhood growing up thrifty around wealthy is more common than people realized. Yet... it’s confusing to a kid.

    Side-by-side .... here in Palo Alto - Los Altos Hills - Menlo Park- Atherton - Woodside - even in Monte Sereno-

    there are single mom’s raising a child living in a back cottage of a larger house.

    Lisa ‘wasn’t’ the only child with a single mom in the Bay Area. But...I’m sure it felt like that to her at the time.

    Paul and I were ‘cracking up’ listening to this Audiobook together. Are we bad? We had our own side dialogue going. Buddy Listening with your spouse is a blast of fun. Our soaking in the warm pool for a few hours of listening was part of our enjoyment/ listening.

    Paul & I both found this book interesting.

    Interesting is an interesting word choice .... but that’s what I’m going with.

    Paul was funny.

    “Whose Debbie, again and why was she important?”, he asks me. Debbie was an older woman/ friend to Lisa when she was a child. Her mom was terribly jealous; the relationship ended abruptly.

    And.... “Steve wasn’t ‘that’ bad”...Paul says!!

    “well, ok, maybe he was”, Paul says later...

    “Why did Lisa write this book?”

    “I don’t know, Paul... should we call Lisa and ask her?”

    “They never talk to each other”, Paul says during a very funny dinner scene over a salad at Steve’s Woodside Home.

    Soo funny... it’s true.

    Conversation wasn’t a strong suit.

    A few activities with dad growing up:

    ...roller skating

    ...a visit to his office

    ...a ride in his Porsche

    ...dinner alone and a sleepover at his Woodside house.

    ...soaking in the hot tub together

    ...a delivery - gift of a Mac Computer

    ...but conversation? Not really!

    Activities with mom:

    ...Drawing, ( mom was a talented starving artist)

    ...day trips, (museums),

    ...pool parties at friends who swim naked.

    ... moving 13 times

    ...a ‘break-in’ to take a couch from Steve’s house in Monte Sereno when Steve didn’t show- up. ( proud ‘mom’ moment)... ha!

    So? What to make of this book? It’s your choice!! Read it - don’t read it. It’s not going to change your life either way.

    It’s Lisa’s memoir.

    I’m going with the full 5 stars:

    ...enjoyment human interest story - for both Paul & I

  • Leslynn

    So, this book....... it's one of those which elicit strong emotions in a reader, especially a parent. There are times when you wonder why these people were allowed to be parents, why no-one smacked some sense into Steve & whateverthemothersnamewas, how did this child evolve into a somewhat coherent individual?

    Proof that:

    - intellect does not ensure good parenting (or even a mediocre attempt at it)

    - fame & money clearly does not make you happy

    - whateverthemothers

    So, this book....... it's one of those which elicit strong emotions in a reader, especially a parent. There are times when you wonder why these people were allowed to be parents, why no-one smacked some sense into Steve & whateverthemothersnamewas, how did this child evolve into a somewhat coherent individual?

    Proof that:

    - intellect does not ensure good parenting (or even a mediocre attempt at it)

    - fame & money clearly does not make you happy

    - whateverthemothersnamewas was a selfish, brutish individual who should have made better life choices

    - that children defy, even after death

    - even when surrounded by people, you can be alone.

    A well-written memoir, which is worth reading.

  • Meggan

    This book really makes you understand that people are complicated. Just because they are famous, or intelligent, etc., doesn't mean that success is going to translate into all aspects of their lives.

  • Rebecca McNutt

    In

    , Lisa Brennan-Jobs laments on her nostalgic and at times quite bizarre childhood à la

    (although certainly not to the extent of defamation like the latter). The illegitimate daughter of technology mogul Steve Jobs, Lisa lived in idyllic California at a time where this was a place of dreamers and thinkers and the power of computers for the average consumer was being recognized. I wouldn't necessarily call this one of those "child abuse" memoirs, although there was a lot

    In

    , Lisa Brennan-Jobs laments on her nostalgic and at times quite bizarre childhood à la

    (although certainly not to the extent of defamation like the latter). The illegitimate daughter of technology mogul Steve Jobs, Lisa lived in idyllic California at a time where this was a place of dreamers and thinkers and the power of computers for the average consumer was being recognized. I wouldn't necessarily call this one of those "child abuse" memoirs, although there was a lot of neglect on the part of Steve Jobs himself. Instead it reads more like a coming-of-age story about a girl who still loves her father but has only just been coming to terms with his strange actions.

    Another central figure in the book is Lisa's mother, who often moved her from one place to the next, and alongside Lisa's years of growing up, Apple computers were establishing themselves both in pop culture and in the homes of a ton of users, bringing not just notoriety but also questions. Why was Jobs so reluctant to acknowledge his daughter's existence yet he still spent time with her on occasion? Why was the choice of naming the "Lisa" computer such a mystery? Why did Steve have no problem with his step-children and colleagues, but Lisa was largely ignored? Meanwhile Lisa eventually moves in with her father, highlighting a relationship that's both strained and dysfunctional yet still built from desperate affection.

    Steve Jobs himself is deceased and therefore can't speak for himself on the matter, so what here in

    is embellished remains a bit foggy. Still, it brings to light a less glamorous side of the high-stakes 1980's atmosphere of America and the callousness of the environment behind all that rhetoric about dreams and imagination. It's less about Steve Jobs and more about a girl trying to understand the strange and idyllic world she spent her childhood in.

  • Diane S ☔

    4.5 Well, I gobbled this one up in a few short days. As soon as I started reading this, I was fascinated and totally immersed in Lisa's story. Steve Jobs, Apple, not many happy not heard that too names. I don't use Apple products myself, don't even, voluntarily mind you, own a cell phone, but my daughter is an avid user. I'm just blown away by all the interesting non fiction being published right now. This one was garnering such great reviews from critics and readers alike, I had to grab it.

    Lisa

    4.5 Well, I gobbled this one up in a few short days. As soon as I started reading this, I was fascinated and totally immersed in Lisa's story. Steve Jobs, Apple, not many happy not heard that too names. I don't use Apple products myself, don't even, voluntarily mind you, own a cell phone, but my daughter is an avid user. I'm just blown away by all the interesting non fiction being published right now. This one was garnering such great reviews from critics and readers alike, I had to grab it.

    Lisa, the eldest daughter of Steve Jobs, her parents never married, separated before the was born. For the first years of her life, he denied she was his child. Eventually, due to child support payments, a judge would order a paternity test taken, which proved she was his. Though for s time he would still deny this fact. When she was a little older he began to pay hef more attention, entering and leaving her life, sporadically. Caught between two such disparate parents, lifestyles, her father alternately demanding, of negligent, her mother struggking financially and emotionally, she struggled to find her place, where she belonged. Such interesting reading, so many insights into a life few will live or see. To say Jobs was a strange duck, with strange ways, is an understatement.

    It would be easy to dismiss him as just another negligent, self centered man, but I think he also struggled. To connect, to communicate, adopted as a child I felt he was very insecure, had strange ways of making people prove they cared about him. Lisa, tells her story, or their story, honestly send without dramatics. Saying, this I how it was, how I felt, how I wished it could be. Difficult upbringing, struggling often, she does remarkablly well, not without a great deal of trying and tears, I'm sure, but as always I'm amazed by the strength and versatility of the human spirit. She is a truly amazing young woman.

  • Roxanne

    Lisa Brennan-Jobs new memoir, Small Fry, is searing in a Mommy Dearest expose` way, with me exclaiming and throwing the book down on at least three occasions, with a, “He did what?!”.

    And that’s saying something for a former high school counselor, who’d thought I had hardened to any shock at inconsistent parenting and emotional abuse. So let me tell you, Steve Jobs takes the Apple cake. But instead, pick up a copy of Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ book and let her tell you in her very rational, yet compellin

    Lisa Brennan-Jobs new memoir, Small Fry, is searing in a Mommy Dearest expose` way, with me exclaiming and throwing the book down on at least three occasions, with a, “He did what?!”.

    And that’s saying something for a former high school counselor, who’d thought I had hardened to any shock at inconsistent parenting and emotional abuse. So let me tell you, Steve Jobs takes the Apple cake. But instead, pick up a copy of Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ book and let her tell you in her very rational, yet compelling writer’s voice.

  • Elizabeth

    I also grew up in Palo Alto at the same time so many of the places and references were violently real to me. Dragers? Check. Zohar? Check. The Good Earth? Check. That Whole Foods downtown? I can picture that place as if it were yesterday. It was kind of ratty in the old days. I'm sure it's supremely well-lit now.

    This book was a bit heart-breaking. I have a lot of sympathy for the author as she describes how she yearns to be more part of her father's new family, yet never will be.

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