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Summary and book reviews of Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry

by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs X
Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2018, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2019, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Meara Conner
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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

Excerpt
Small Fry

The day we moved in, my mother parked and we carried in our things: kitchen supplies, a futon, a desk, a rocking chair, lamps, books. "This is why nomads don't get anything done," she said, hefting a box through the doorway, her hair disheveled, her hands flecked with white canvas primer. "They don't stay in one place long enough to build anything that lasts."

By the time I was seven, my mother and I had moved thirteen times. We rented spaces informally, staying in a friend's furnished bedroom here, a temporary sublet there. The last place had become unsuitable when someone had sold the refrigerator without warning. We moved again to an apartment just for us on the ground floor of a small building at the back of a house on Channing Avenue in Palo Alto—the first place my mother rented with her own name on the lease.

After we finished unloading, she stood with her hands on her hips, and together we surveyed the room: with everything we owned, it ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Small Fry is a touching portrait of the complicated relationship of parent to child and whether familial love can survive the emotional trauma created within it...continued

Full Review (661 words).

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(Reviewed by Meara Conner).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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, Brennan-Jobs writes lucidly of happy times, as well as of her loneliness…This sincere and disquieting portrait reveals a complex father-daughter relationship.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. An epic, sharp coming-of-age story…An exquisitely rendered story of family, love, and identity.

Author Blurb Jamie Quatro
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.

Author Blurb Phillip Lopate
As clear-eyed, amusing, honest, unsentimental and sad as any memoir I've read in years…No other book or film has captured Steve Jobs as distinctly as this one has.

Author Blurb Susan Cheever
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.

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Beyond the Book

California Reading

Big SurOne of the most captivating aspects of Lisa Brennan-Jones' Small Fry is the portrayal of California during the 1980s and 1990s. From the small, specific aspects of Northern California culture to the sweeping descriptions of the San Francisco hills, Brennan-Jones creates not just a backdrop, but an atmosphere of a time and place. Here are a few more books (both fiction and non-fiction) that perfectly encapsulate the California ambience.

Where I Was From by Joan Didion
Didion's iconic 2003 memoir follows not just her childhood in Sacramento and later life in Los Angeles, but details some of the little-known history of the state of California. From outlining the state's at-times troubled relationships to land and water to ...

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