Growing up, Lisa Brennan-Jobs felt that, to her father, Steve Jobs, she was a “blot on a spectacular ascent.”
The memories she shares in an excerpt from her new memoir, Small Fry, paint a complicated, but still tender, picture of the evolving relationship between restrained father, and desirous, at times estranged daughter.
Brennan-Jobs shared an excerpt from her upcoming memoir in Vanity Fair on Wednesday. Notably, Brennan-Jobs reveals that for years, her father denied that he named the Mac precursor Lisa computer after her — which Jobs finally admitted, only in answer to a question from Bono.
“That’s the first time he’s said yes,” I told Bono. “Thank you for asking.” As if famous people needed other famous people around to release their secrets.
Brennan-Jobs is the daughter of Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan, born when her parents were just 23. For years, Jobs denied paternity, and Brennan raised her daughter as a single mom, living on welfare and odd jobs. A district attorney finally sued Jobs for child support in 1980, and a DNA test confirmed paternity. From that point on, Jobs became an occasional presence — and sometime source of pride, or, more often, heartbreak — in Lisa’s life.
In the excerpt, Brennan-Jobs depicts Jobs through the eyes of a confused little girl looking for love in the face of an austere father. She writes clearly about a puzzling figure and the volatile role he played in her life. She also shares emotionally complicated memories about their imperfect relationship, and his final days before he died from cancer in 2011.
I assigned mystical qualities to his zipper teeth, his tattered jeans, his flat palms, as if these were not only different from other fathers’ but better, and now that he was in my life, even if it was only once a month, I had not waited in vain. I would be better off than children who’d had fathers all along.
In life and especially since his death, Steve Jobs stands as a towering figure in history — a visionary and a genius. But he is also known for his micromanaging, his ego, and his temper. Brennan-Jobs’ memoir adds another face to the prism of Jobs, showing that Jobs may have been a world-changing titan, but also, a maddening, tragic, and perhaps ultimately repentant father.
Small Fry will be published in September 2018. You can see more details on Amazon.
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