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Small Fry: A Memoir

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  18,151 ratings  ·  2,096 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Grove Press
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Jan Lynch Brennan-Jobs longed for her father to recognize her for so many years. She wanted him to acknowledge her publicly and fully as his daughter. To say…moreBrennan-Jobs longed for her father to recognize her for so many years. She wanted him to acknowledge her publicly and fully as his daughter. To say that the computer Lisa was named for her. She wanted to belong to him, to be part of his family, to have him for a father. That seems like what this book is about. Small Fry makes meaning of her childhood. In it, she claims her father and makes him hers.(less)

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 ·  18,151 ratings  ·  2,096 reviews


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Elyse  Walters
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Update: $1.99 kindle special today. I thought this book ( Audiobook) was sooo enjoyable. The Bay Area - itself- was a main character
I spent more than $1.99. lol

Its GOOD!


Audiobook....narrated by Eileen Stevens

Im one of the most important people you will ever know....

Who talks like that?...to your 3 year old daughter?
But ... its 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
...more
Dianne
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2018
I have a bit of a fascination with Steve Jobs. I worked for a company that was one of the first to attempt to adopt his innovative NeXT computer system in the early 90s after he left Apple. Like other companies, we had to abandon it because it was highly proprietary and no other software would work with it. Shortly thereafter, I ran into him at the remote Hawaiian resort he favored (no TVs, no phones, very isolated) and was struck by his markedly furtive behavior and the sharp, hostile glare I ...more
Jenna
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir-biography
Poor Thing GIF - LebronJames SmallestViolin GIFs

I love to read memoirs. I do not love to read memoirs in which the author is either begging for pity or bragging. Unfortunately, in Small Fry Lisa Brennan-Jobs does both. She writes very well, descriptively, and engagingly; otherwise, I would not have been able to stomach this book at all. She held my attention even whilst she annoyed the hell out of me.

Small Fry is about Lisa's childhood and her relationship with her sometimes-there/sometimes-not-there father, Steve Jobs. Nothing shocking that
...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.

...more
Rebecca McNutt
In Small Fry, Lisa Brennan-Jobs laments on her nostalgic and at times quite bizarre childhood à la Mommie Dearest (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 ...more
BlackOxford
A Land Apart

What a Jerk. Steve Jobs was clearly in that elite group of psychos which includes Trump, Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk. Bullies, liars, pathologically egocentric, litigious bastards one and all. And any taste they have is restricted to their mouths.

Whether or not the world at large is a better place because of Steve Jobs is open to debate. But the immediate world of those around him was hell. Dumps his first partner (actually she dumps him); denies paternity of the child; pays peanuts in
...more
emma
usually i hate when books take up valuable cover space with blurbs and compliments. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR STORY, i yell at the pages, drawing unnecessary attention to myself in the bookstore by scolding inanimate objects.

but there's a line on the back of this that sums up the experience of reading it better than any synopsis:

"mesmerizing, discomfiting reading."

review to come / 4 stars

---------

can't stop / won't stop reading memoirs
Leslynn
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Copy courtesy of NetGalley

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
-
...more
Carolyn
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Alex
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was horribly boring and I question why Brennan-Jobs story is one that needed to be memorialized, other than for the fact her father is Steve Jobs and that he was a bit of an asshole. Do not get the hype at all.
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 thats saying something for a former high school counselor, whod 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
...more
Lisa
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
[3+] This is not a memoir in which I identified with the writer. Lisa Brennan-Jobs defines herself by her absent, fickle, often selfish father. We don't learn much about her - except through her lense of what her father has taken away from her (and occasionally given her). The book is readable and at times fascinating. But it is also frustrating. Brennan-Jobs is a fine writer and the book would have been improved with a focus on more than what she needed from her father and didn't get. She is ...more
Jen Loves Reading
I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. This was pretty bland and boring. I wouldn't recommend this with so many other great memoirs out there
Laura Noggle
Mixed feelings on this one.

Similar to death by a thousand cuts, this book reads like a slow madness incurred from a thousand barbed slights by Steve Jobs.

It was interesting, and mundane at the same time. It's more a collection of vignettes of Steve Jobs through his first daughter's eyes, than an autobiography of Lisa. She is only present in the book in relation to him, her feelings about him, and her struggle to feel welcomed and validated in his life.

Clearly, Lisa hasn't yet let go of a lot
...more
Sharon Metcalf
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2019
Lisa Brennan-Jobs was the first daughter of world famous Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and one of the richest men in the world. If, like me, you don't already know her story you might imagine for her a privileged life. If so, like me, you would be wrong. Hers is not exactly a story of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

From the outset Steve Jobs denied his paternity so her earliest years were spent with her artist mother. Later, he acknowleged her as a daughter but theirs was a volatile
...more
Michael Scott
Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs is an autobiography presented as a coming-of-age story written for the target-audience of Steve Jobs fans and people interested in the myth surrounding the Apple creator who died not long ago. Overall, a good story, but with flaws, not enough about Steve Jobs to matter generally, and not enough alignment of values with the lead character to matter for me.

The writing is nice and flowing (except for the big gap in the maturing years discussed later in this review),
...more
librarianka
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fathers, daughters
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 ...more
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.
Mary Deacon
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is memoir by Steve Job's daughter. She talks about growing up in California and what it was like growing up the daughter of the Apple founder. I would definitely recommend this book.
Melanie
Oct 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Guys, you don't have to read this book. Utter crap. This book is only relevant for people obsessed with Apple and Steve Jobs like he's some kind of genius or a god. Lisa is a very minor story in his life and this novel reads as such. I mean no wants to read about ordinary things done by ordinary people like a journal entry sans critical reflection. Like, my mother bought a car, we called Steve to pay the bill. I mean, just no. There's a lot of sentences like this, we called him up to ask for ...more
Hibah Kamal-Grayson
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Fairly well-written and interesting, but I'm rounding down based on the wave of relief I felt upon parting ways with the narrator.

It's hard to chronicle meanness without letting it infect you, and I kept detecting a faint trace of Steve Jobs's selfish cunning in the narrator herself: in her prose, her inner life, and even her actions. The narrative arc -- wobbly throughout the book -- sort of collapses at the end. I felt as though the author tried to quickly and clumsily stitch
...more
britt_brooke
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
After recently reading Walter Isaacsons Steve Jobs biography, it seemed only right to hear another side. Lisa is his first child whom he vehemently denied until a paternity test proved otherwise. With an unstable mother and a severely judgmental father who was often cruel, Lisa had a tumultuous upbringing. Sure, some of this could be written off as privileged white girl problems, but I just dont think thats fair nor accurate. Every story deserves to be told and heard. Shitty childhoods can come ...more
Gretchen Rubin
My sister Elizabeth told me I had to read this book. An outstanding family memoir.
Clary
Nov 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ugh. Just because it is a memoir does not mean one should recount random, unlinked vignettes of her life. And if this is the method chosen, bad idea as it is, at least stretch the imagination and insert some transitions in an attempt to show a created connection. At times, the author says "the next day" but no previous day was ever identified. It is not clear if she is 1 month old or 5 years old. At other times, she says "later." Later than what? I believed that some of the stories recounted ...more
Cherise Wolas
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing coming-of-age/family story, but I disagree with the reviewers who believe that the fact that the father in question was Steve Jobs is irrelevant. It's what makes this book especially interesting. For all his brilliance and on-and-off charisma, he was cold and sanctimonious, withholding, profoundly awkward and, at times, wildly inappropriate. And saw exactly how his life would unfold, and it unfolded that way. Does brilliance excuse coldness, meanness, cheapness? Written ...more
Ginger Bensman
Small Fry is the story of a child longing to belong, a child constantly vigilant, looking to discern from the adults in her life what she needs to be and do, to be seen and valued and loved. And getting the signals right is no small task when both her parents are (emotionally) children, still desperately searching to find love and security and the missing pieces of themselves. Her fathers outsized success, casual cruelty, and warped understanding about what it is to be a parent, lead to sharply ...more
Meggan
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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.
Susan Johnson
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lisa did not win the parent lottery. That often happens to people who have young parents and who have no resources- financial, emotional, etc.- to do the job. This was the case here. Neither parent really wanted her and she kind of floated with no sense of belonging. So why didn't I feel sorry for her?
1. The first 1/2 of the book was when she was 10 or younger. It's not that particularly interesting and this book was no exception.
2. An extraordinary amount of time was spent on people's bathroom
...more
Rebecca
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(3.5) What was it like to have Steve Jobs as your dad? That question has already drawn many to Lisa Brennan-Jobss debut memoir. You dont need to have any particular interest in Apple computers or in technology in general to read and enjoy this; all you need is curiosity about how families work, especially amid complications like disputed paternity, half-siblings, and the peculiarities of behaviour common to geniuses and madmen.

Apart from brief flashbacks to her earliest years and a few scenes
...more
Riva Sciuto
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios-memoirs
"For a long time I hoped that if I played one role, my father would take the corresponding role. I would be the beloved daughter; he would be the indulgent father. I decided that if I acted like other daughters did, he would join in the lark. Wed pretend together, and in pretending wed make it real. If I had observed him as he was, or admitted to myself what I saw, I would have known that he would not do this, and that a game of pretend would disgust him."

***

I LOVED this memoir. I found myself
...more
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Articles featuring this book

Lisa Brennan-Jobs' coming-of-age memoir, Small Fry , details her childhood as the disowned daughter of Apple cofounder and tech icon Steve Jobs....
29 likes · 18 comments
“I see now that we were at cross-purposes. For him, I was a blot on a spectacular ascent, as our story did not fit with the narrative of greatness and virtue he might have wanted for himself. My existence ruined his streak. For me, it was the opposite: the closer I was to him, the less I would feel ashamed; he was part of the world, and he would accelerate me into the light.” 7 likes
“I wished that I wanted less, needed less, was one of those succulents that have a tangle of wiry, dry roots and a minty congregation of leaves and can survive on only the smallest bit of moisture and air.” 6 likes
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