In her profile of Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Times reporter Nellie Bowles offers this insightful comment about Steve Jobs’s oldest daughter whose memoir, “Small Fry,” hits shelves next month: Ms. Brennan-Jobs wants readers to know that she didn’t intend the book to be a “tell-all exposé,” and that she “has absolved” her father for his vicious treatment of her.
“Ms. Brennan-Jobs’s forgiveness is one thing,” writes Ms. Bowles. “What’s tricky is that she wants the reader to forgive Mr. Jobs, too. And she knows that could be a problem.”
Indeed, based on readers’s comments, this is a problem, with many people saying that Ms. Brennan-Jobs suffered from emotional abuse.
“Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” by Jeanette Winterson
This memoir is a “testament to Winterson’s innate generosity, as well as her talent, that she can showcase the outsize humor her mother’s equally capacious craziness provides even as she reveals the cruelties Mrs. Winterson imposed on her in the name of rearing a God-fearing Christian.”
“Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America,” by Gregory Pardlo
The poet Pardlo explores race, addiction and a fraught father-son dynamic in this memoir. “One hopes,” writes our reviewer, that Pardlo will “come to terms with the emotional legacy of a proud and overbearing father who could never find it in himself to offer his son unconditional praise.”
“The Glass Castle,” by Jeannette Walls
Meet, as our reviewer writes, “two people who were (to say the least) unsuited to raise children.” Readers “will marvel at the intelligence and resilience of the Walls kids” and “root for them when they escape, one by one, to New York City.”
“The Liar’s Club,” by Mary Karr
This is Karr’s “haunting memoir of growing up in East Texas in the early 1960s, virtually motherless, and fiercely seeking to understand her parents, their lives and their relationship to her sister and herself.” Our reviewer says that “Karr’s narrative tone is less sensational than it is elegiac and searching.”
“With or Without You,” by Domenica Ruta
Our reviewer points out that Domenica Ruta’s “With or Without You” “is a recovery memoir in which the most vivid character doesn’t recover.” That character is her mother, who “was so overjoyed” when her daughter “finally began smoking pot that she gave her a bag of it for Christmas.” But that daughter’s “drug of choice proved to be alcohol,” and the only way she got sober, was “by severing her connections” to her mother.