Small Fry Summary & Study Guide

Lisa Brennan-Jobs
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Small Fry Summary & Study Guide Description

Small Fry Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Brennan-Jobs, Lisa. Small Fry. Grove Press, 2018.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs is Steve Job’s first daughter. In her memoir, Lisa recalls her childhood. For the first several years of her life, Lisa lived with her mother throughout California. After a lawsuit, Steve began paying child-support payments and inviting Lisa to his home. Lisa struggled in school while growing up. She felt uncomfortable around the hippie lifestyle that many of her mother’s friends led. After Steve was fired from Apple, he began spending more time with Lisa and her mother. He introduced Lisa to his sister Mona, a successful writer whom he had only recently met. Lisa and Mona grew close and remained that way into Lisa’s adulthood.

Lisa’s mother began taking college classes, so Lisa stayed with Steve once a week. Lisa often felt uncomfortable around her father and wanted to impress him. Steve would speak of women whom he thought were beautiful and Lisa wanted to be like them. One day, Lisa’s mother’s class was cancelled and she walked in on Steve trying to convince Lisa to get a boyfriend. She arranged for Lisa to stay with a friend instead of Steve in the future. Lisa spent increasingly more time with Steve as she grew older. Steve invited Lisa to join him and his girlfriend Tina on vacation to Hawaii. Lisa noticed that Steve was very physically affectionate with Tina in front of her. Steve was heartbroken after he and Lisa broke up.

In fifth grade, Lisa moved to a new school and wished to be popular among her classmates. When Lisa’s mother discovered that Lisa had started wearing flashy clothes and makeup to school, she punished Lisa. Steve married his new girlfriend Laurene and they had a son named Reed, whom Lisa adored. Lisa went on a class trip to Japan in sixth grade and spent time with her father there. Steve invited Lisa to live with him, Laurene, and Reed. Steve would not allow Lisa to see her mother for at least six months afterward.

Lisa moved in with Steve and his family. She changed her last name to include both her mother’s and father’s names. She became very involved in her high school’s extracurricular activities, but Steve would not pick her up late from school after these meetings. This led Lisa to stay the night at her friends’ houses frequently. Steve accused Lisa of not being a part of the family since she was away so much. He convinced Lisa to transfer to a different high school mid-year so that she would be closer to home. The heat did not work in the part of the house where Lisa’s bedroom was and Steve refused to fix it. Lisa met with her mother for brunch for the first time since Lisa moved in with Steve. Lisa and her mother fought because her mother felt that Lisa was becoming just like Steve and his rich family. They reconciled soon after, but Lisa’s mother was moving to Los Angeles for a new job, so she would not be nearby to see Lisa very often.

During Lisa’s junior year of high school, Steve wanted Lisa to accompany him and his family to a vacation in Hawaii, so Lisa had to miss class. Steve joked that he should bring Lisa to Hawaii every year instead of sending her to college. Lisa felt upset that Laurene would not save her from Steve’s strange temperament. Lisa invited Steve and Laurene to accompany her to a visit with her therapist. When Lisa shared that she felt very lonely, they did not respond and Laurene said that they were just cold people. Steve told Lisa that she had no marketable skills that would allow her to succeed in life. Lisa convinced Steve to let her live with her mother for half of the year.

Lisa was admitted to Harvard. After Lisa left for college, Steve stopped paying for many of his previous contributions, like child-support payments to Lisa’s mother, Lisa’s therapy appointments and, eventually, Lisa’s tuition. Lisa almost had to drop out of college because she could not afford the tuition without her father’s help, but Steve’s neighbors Kevin and Dorothy offered to pay. When Lisa returned home for the summer, Lisa moved out of Steve’s home and in with Kevin and Dorothy. After Lisa graduated, Steve paid Kevin and Dorothy back for everything they had financed for Lisa.

Years later, Steve grew sick with cancer. Lisa would visit him and Steve apologized for his poor treatment of her. Lisa began to steal items from Steve’s home but then returned everything. After Steve died, Lisa grew very close to her mother. Lisa’s mother believed Steve’s spirit followed Lisa around because she knew he wanted to always spend time with Lisa.

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