Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Book review: Growing up with and without Steve Jobs

This memoir by the late Apple cofounder’s daughter is more than the missing piece of her father’s puzzle — it’s the story of a girl trying to find her place between two families complicated by wealth, fame, illness and death


“We all made allowances for his eccentricities, the way he attacked other people, because he was also brilliant and sometimes kind and insightful,” she writes, after her father tells the A-student, high-school Lisa that she has “no marketable skills” despite her many extracurricular activities. “Now I felt he’d crush me if I let him. He would tell me how little I meant over and over until I believed it.”

To some, this is an unfair portrayal of Steve Jobs — as his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and his sister, Mona Simpson, assert in a joint statement saying that “Steve loved Lisa, and he regretted that he was not the father he should have been during her early childhood.”

But this becomes clear at the end of the book, when he is on his sickbed and tells Lisa, over and over, that he “owes” her one. He starts to cry. “If only we’d had a manual. If only I’d been wiser. But you were not to blame I want you to know, you were not to blame for any of it,” he tells her.

Steve Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011. But we knew that, too. Sometime before that, Lisa complains to her mother that Steve does not love her. She assures her that is not true, that he loves her but he doesn’t know it. He doesn’t know until it is too late. Chrisann quotes an old Billie Holiday song: “Mama may have, papa may have, but God bless the child who’s got his own.”

In the end, that’s all one can wish for children, even if they are fully grown with children of their own, even if they are the children of Steve Jobs.

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