Book : Small Fry

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.

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:

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