Book Corner 2019.32

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Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Brennan-Jobs is the first daughter of Steve Jobs, born out of wedlock in the 1970s and unacknowledged by him for the first years of her life. This book is about her childhood from birth through her entrance to Harvard with a small coda that takes place during her adulthood around the time of Jobs’ death.

The book feels like a brain dump of all her memories, interesting or not. Mixed emotions are part of virtually every paragraph – her mixed feelings towards her father, her mother, and theirs towards her. Nothing congeals. Steve is a weirdo*. Her mother tries but is overstressed by life as a single mother. Lisa bats from house to house, and nothing gets better. The story lacked “narrative arc.” her childhood wasn’t bad enough for this really to stand as a “victory over adversity” novel. It’s just an inside peek at someone’s childhood, someone who happened to be related to somebody famous. It got tiresome. ( )

* See the NYTimes profile at the link.  Lisa’s mother describes Steve as “on a slide whistle between human and inhuman.”

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