Small Fry, the memoir written by Steve Jobs’ oldest daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, is out today. The book details Lisa’s challenging relationship with her famous father, who early on denied his daughter’s paternity, before eventually forging a (still difficult at times) relationship with her.
Lisa has said the book was prompted by her apparent dislike of Walter Isaacson’s 2011 Steve Jobs biography. However, it seems that Lisa’s book is also going to stir up some controversy among Steve Jobs’ family.
So far, Lisa has given a few interviews to promote the book. These have painted a picture of a complicated relationship, in which Steve could be cold and uncaring at one minute, overly controlling the next, and caring and insightful at other times.
Lisa is far from the first person in Jobs’ family to write a book about him (or a thinly-veiled caricature of him in one case). Lisa’s mother, Chrisann Brennan, wrote the 2013 memoir The Bite In The Apple: A Memoir Of My Life With Steve Jobs, which I reviewed here. Jobs’ sister, Mona Simpson, also wrote a 1996 novel, A Regular Guy which tells the story of a fictionalized Silicon Valley tycoon who denies the paternity of a daughter born out of wedlock.
Shortly after a New York Times article about Lisa’s memoir was published, the Jobs family — represented by Laurene Powell Jobs, her children, and Mona Simpson, gave this statement:
“Lisa is part of our family, so it was with sadness that we read her book, which differs dramatically from our memories of those times. The portrayal of Steve is not the husband and father we knew. Steve loved Lisa, and he regretted that he was not the father he should have been during her early childhood. It was a great comfort to Steve to have Lisa home with all of us during the last days of his life, and we are all grateful for the years we spent together as a family.”
It appears that the controversy about the book may only stir up more sales, however. At time of writing, the book is among Amazon’s top-sellers. I’m planning to read the book in the early part of this week, and hopefully to publish a review in the next couple of days.
Small Fry, published by Grove Press, is available to order on Amazon for $17.10 in hardcover.