Small Fry

March 14, 2019 - Comment

A NEW YORK TIMES AND NEW YORKER TOP 10 BOOK OF THE YEAR “Beautiful, literary, and devastating.”—New York Times Book Review • “Revelatory.”—Entertainment Weekly • “A masterly Silicon Valley gothic.”—Vogue •“Mesmerizing, discomfiting reading… A book of no small literary skill.”—New Yorker • “Extraordinary… An aching, exquisitely told story.”—People • “The sleeper critical hit of the season.”—Vulture

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(as of April 19, 2020 5:49 am GMT+0000 - Details)

A NEW YORK TIMES AND NEW YORKER TOP 10 BOOK OF THE YEAR

“Beautiful, literary, and devastating.”—New York Times Book Review • “Revelatory.”—Entertainment Weekly • “A masterly Silicon Valley gothic.”—Vogue •“Mesmerizing, discomfiting reading… A book of no small literary skill.”—New Yorker • “Extraordinary… An aching, exquisitely told story.”—People • “The sleeper critical hit of the season.”—Vulture

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR NPR, AMAZON, GQ, VOGUE (UK), BUSTLE, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, AND INDIGO

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. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is a poignant coming-of-age story from one of our most exciting new literary voices.

Praise for Small Fry

“An intimate, richly drawn portrait… The reader of this exquisite memoir is left with a loving, forgiving remembrance and the lasting impression of a resilient, kindhearted and wise woman who is at peace with her past.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“A heartbreaking memoir, beautifully rendered…It’s a love story for the father that she had, flaws and all… A wise, thoughtful, and ultimately loving portrayal of her father.”—Seattle Times

An Amazon Best Book of September 2018: When you finish Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ memoir of growing up as the daughter of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, you’ll feel sorry for her – not just because Jobs was a jerk a lot of the time, but because some readers will be too busy rubbernecking at her famous dad to notice what a great writer his daughter is. In Small Fry, Brennan-Jobs moves back and forth in time, balancing her memories of Jobs’ often tough treatment of her (denying paternity, denying her adequate financial support, denying her the warmth and attention every child deserves) with his unpredictable moments of openness and generosity.

No wonder Brennan-Jobs is always nervous around her dad, breaking glasses, fluttering her hands: she’s lovesick, and uncertain that her love is requited. “My insides are jumping,” she writes in her high school diary after he unexpectedly seeks her out for time alone together. “When I tell him events, they come alive. When I don’t tell him, they don’t exist.”

In the end, Jobs, so rich and so famous, is just another parent who withholds what his children need to thrive. “How can it look so good but feels so bad?” Brennan-Jobs says of living in his house. Her aunt, the writer Mona Simpson, answers, “What else is money for… if not to make it look good?” This artfully constructed, self-critical memoir feels like so much more than axe-grinding: what does look good is Brennan-Jobs’s future as a writer. —Sarah Harrison Smith, Amazon Book Review

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