The audiobook “Small Fry” contains the emotionally engrossing memoirs of Lisa Brennan-Jobs whose biological father was the famous Apple Computer co-founder; Steve Jobs. The audiobook edition of this book was skillfully and wonderfully narrated by Eileen Stevens; who has narrated over two-hundred title on Audible at the time of this review. I am not what some might call an Apple “fanboy”, but I have followed and used the company’s products dating back to the days of the first Apple ][ series; yes I’m that old. I have lightly followed the activities of Mr. Jobs because of their great impact and influence upon the computer industry. From Apple to the NEXT and back to Apple, Mr. Jobs has been an innovator changing how we interact with computers even today. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to grow up poor, raised by a single parent who not only had multiple financial difficulties being an artist but numerous mental issues while your estranged father is a multi-billionaire, this book is for you. Even if you are not a person who understands computers or knows about the life of Mr. Jobs, I think you will enjoy this moving and emotional rollercoaster ride where we are shown many of the author’s lows and highs interacting with her eccentric genius father while he was alive. I can say that this book does not end like your typical Disney fairytale, it is real-life as one can tell. There are often times of hardship, loss, and love. Although the family is quite dysfunctional, I have to say that in many ways it represents families today.
The book mostly consists of a chronological progression from the author’s early years up to the time of her father’s death. Some of the earlier details I’m sure were filled in by her mother as a number of them were from periods she would have been too young to recall. When I first started the audiobook, I thought it was going to be filled with stories showing a negative light on Mr. Jobs. However, I found the book very well balanced and enlightening into the life of a man who often kept his private life protected from the public. Frequently, books like these portray the author as loving, kind, and supportive while others in their life are troubled, abusive, and unkind. Even though we are given some of this in the book, we are also provided a view into Mrs. Brennan-Jobs troubled pass as well. She does not show herself in the best light at times and instead shares many of her flaws as well.
I thought the book’s narration by Eileen Stevens was fantastic. It was well paced, felt like she knew her material and there was no issue with the sound having any noticeable audio artifacts. Her voice was clear and sharp, and the audiobook’s volume was consistent. When narrating fictional works, a narrator often has to track and voice multiple characters, yet with this book it is mainly told from the perspective of the author. I did like the use of inflection in the narration as it helped bring the book to life for me. Emotional times in the were expressive and felt like the author was telling them in her own words.
Parents or younger readers who may be interested in this book, note there are scenes containing vulgar language and some mature content. It may not be appropriate for younger readers, but I can say that the language use is mostly when quoting others. Just be aware such language exists and if it is an issue for you, I recommend you pick up a different audiobook.
In summary, if you have ever wondered what it would be like growing up in the Jobs household or being one of the individuals in the inner circle of this family, I suggest you pick up this audiobook and give it a listen. The book is engrossing, compelling, and emotional on many fronts. I thought the book was well laid out, covered both the good and bad times, and involved a rather large span of time. The narration was solid and clear. Bring together these many elements and you have a rather good piece of non-fiction that will have you listening from start to finish.