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I didn't hate it. This was pretty bland and boring. I wouldn't recommend this with so many other great memoirs out there. Sep 03, Elizabeth added it. I also grew up in Palo Alto at the same time so many of the places and references were violently real to me. The Good Earth? That Whole Foods downtown? I can picture that place as if it were yesterday. It was kind of ratty in the old days. I'm sure it's supremely well-lit now. This book was a bit heart-breaking.


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I have a lot of sympathy for the author as she describes how she yearns to be more part of her father's new family, yet never will be. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs is an autobiography presented as a coming-of-age story written for the target-audience of Steve Jobs fans and people interested in the myth surrounding the Apple creator who died not long ago. Overall, a good story, but with flaws, not enough about Steve Jobs to matter generally, and not enough alignment of values with the lead character to matter for me.

The writing is nice and flowing except for the big gap in the maturing years discussed later in this review , Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs is an autobiography presented as a coming-of-age story written for the target-audience of Steve Jobs fans and people interested in the myth surrounding the Apple creator who died not long ago.

The writing is nice and flowing except for the big gap in the maturing years discussed later in this review , with lyric descriptions, vivid dialogue, and good portrayal of the main character. The detail is humane and generally believable, which is particularly important for an autobiography. We learn of a shambolic early life, with plenty of moving around, an unstable mother, and quite a bit of toying around the hippy culture and the occult palm-reading and totemic sticks spring to mind. We also learn of an inconsistent, unfrequent at first, fluctuating relationship with Steve Jobs.

There is a good description of life under the roof of Steve Jobs' family, with strict rules and veganism, surprisingly frequent failure of tech objects, and hardship for a kid trying to get spoiled or at times even acknowledged. There is a passive-aggressive account and a hidden in plain sight accusation of Harvard deciding admissions based on daddy's bank account or global reputation, but this is nothing new. Perhaps one detail is new: recounting the moment where Steve Jobs admits the Lisa computer was named after her this time, the claim can be confirmed by singer Bono, says the author, although this is a largely inaccessible witness.

As an example of good writing, consider: Our time together was not fluid but stuttered forward like a flip book. The lead character, Lisa, gets a largely unkind spotlight. Lisa has many little moments of lapses in judgment and acting out on jealousy, tells the occasional big lie, and engages in thieving. She finds it difficult to accept herself, and develops a habit of playing the emotions of her mother, and of riding the checkbook and the name of her father.

She also finds it difficult to accept the rules of the house, or that Steve Jobs insists she develops her own career and earns her own money Marketable Skills. But she is vivid and visible throughout the book, albeit constantly brooding, which makes her a dramatic and thus memorable character. Perhaps the best compliment is that you could like this book even as fiction. But there are also significant downsides, which derive from this being an autobiography of a person we assume lived near Steve Jobs.

A personal downside is that I could not find myself sharing the values of the main character, but this may not be an issue for others.


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The overall story includes little characterization of people other than Lisa. Even then, the characterization occurs dynamically, through the eyes of the main character, with very little analysis. Thus, we learn next to nothing about Steve Jobs other than girl-Lis' idolized him and hated him at the same time, and then from suddenly mature Lisa that he never loved her and tried to take revenge on her for not adhering to his rules.

The mother figure is at best pitied, at worst declared incompetent and also hated, albeit, with regret and turns.

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Laurene seems for a second to act as replacement-monther, and appears in a few moments of genuine support for young Lisa, but then is heard by Lisa declaring to a therapist she's a cold person and from then-on disappears from discussion despite the key role she must have played in the last days of Steve Jobs. The super-friendly neighbors who save Lisa's career by advancing her the money to do part of a year at Harvard and then a full year at the prestigious research university King's College in London, UK, receive a couple of neutral sounding lines, and we get very little sense of personality and only a rushed explanation of their seemimgly complex motivation for supporting her.

The other characters remain obscure. Similarly, there is insufficient description of places outside the places connected to her mother or Steve Jobs. There is little about living with the neighbors, and little about living at Harvard or King's College in London. If you want to care deeply about the main character, you are left with a large gap about these places, and the three to four years they represent.

Worse, this leavea the coming-of-age story incomplete, because we lack the transition between girl-Lis' and mature-Lisa. The key issue of inheritance. Yet the subject is not further elaborated, and it remains unclear what she inherited, other than his name and a prestigious education. The book generally presents Steve Jobs with a toned down but unmistakably passive-aggressive style.

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Whether Lisa's views on this topic are constantly kept in check to level the highs and the lows, or the book has been carefully scrubbed, or there is another reason, the result includes many small moments of adoration and elation about as much as I'd expect from buying your 6th Apple iPhone or your second pair of identical jeans , and a few more moments of little pettiness about as much as you'd say to the kids who stepped on one of your shrubs. This does not match the young age of the character presenting them.

There is also the occasional more serious material, but never aimed at a significant protagonist. For example, the author claims that her mother hears that the gardner was a child-molester; the neighbors enter the Jobs residence to help her move out, without asking for permission from the owner; and it is also the neighbors who say Steve Jobs is neglecting her; etc. The story includes key moments that reduce the credibility of the message or suspend the immersion of the reader. For example, there are moments of raw emotion interrupted by calculated observations on insignificant technical detail, e.

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My Profile Sign Out. Memoirs of the Geisha novelist. Since then, I looked forward to the day when I would meet Golden in person. Even then her life continued at its frenetic pace.

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My room was at the 40th floor of the same Towers but I made it a point to stop by 32nd floor where, I imagined, Sayuri must have walked with the dainty footsteps of the famous geisha that she had been. From the press kit, I learned that Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and educated at Harvard College where he received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanse art. Following a summer at Beijing University, Golden worked for a time in Tokyo. In , after six years of work, he began the manuscript that would eventually become his first published novel, Memoirs of a Geisha which was released in and landed in the New York Times best-seller list where it stayed for two years.

Translated into 32 languages, the novel has sold more than four million copies so far. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. How do you feel about the success of the book? Well, I cannot account for the success of the book. How do you feel that your book is now a movie? I wanted to take a vacation from Geisha after I finished the book because it was such a long process of writing it and for two years talking about it constantly.

It was nice to go back to my life and work on my next novel.

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But suddenly, here came Geisha again. It took this long for whatever complicated reasons there are but to me what matters is the end result. The movie is very beautiful, very faithful to the book. Did you visit the set? I did visit the set. I took my wife and our kids, and we hung out for a couple of days.

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It was fun. The truth is that Rob is a very collaborative guy who is open and interested in hearing the truth from the writer. But he did have on the set an American who was once a geisha as a consultant. How would the movie have turned out if the characters were portrayed by American actors and it was directed by a Chinese or a Japanese?

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You ask me an abstract question like "How does a woman feel when she wakes up in the morning? What morning? What director? Rob has an understanding of a geisha from the inside. There are Japanese directors who know geisha from personal experience and they would have brought into the film a different set of concerns that might not necessarily make for a better film. Did you have any say in the choice of actors? Like Roth, Blazer is a towering American literary icon who served in the United States Army, published short stories in The Paris Review and The New Yorker, won the National Book Award for his first book, and went on to win virtually every other significant literary award.

A running joke early on in the narrative is that Ezra, like Mr. Roth, is a constant runner-up for the Nobel. You were robbed! The likeness is no accident. Halliday, 41, and Mr. Roth, 84, are good friends. And for a time, when she was in her 20s and working at the Wylie Agency, which represents him, they had a romantic relationship. In an email message sent through his publisher, Mr. Halliday — who now lives in Milan, Italy, with her husband and infant daughter — said that while readers might recognize overlapping attributes between Mr.

Roth and Ezra, much about the character and the relationship was fictionalized. I can understand why some people would associate Philip Roth with Ezra Blazer, but really they are not neatly correlated.