Steve Jobs's First Girlfriend Writes Memoir About Early Days

Chrisann Brennan, Steve Jobs's first serious girlfriend and the mother of oldest daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, has penned a memoir titled The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs (Amazon). As the name suggests, it's about her life with and memories of Steve Jobs during his late teens and early 20s when they dated.

The Bite in the Apple

The Bite in the Apple by Chrisann Brennan

From the publisher's description:

The Bite in the Apple is the very human tale of Jobs’s ascent and the toll it took, told from the author’s unique perspective as his first girlfriend, co-parent, friend, and—like many others—object of his cruelty. Brennan writes with depth and breadth, and she doesn’t buy into all the hype. She talks with passion about an idealistic young man who was driven to change the world, about a young father who denied his own child, and about a man who mistook power for love. Chrisann Brennan’s intimate memoir provides the reader with a human dimension to Jobs’ myth. Finally, a book that reveals a more real Steve Jobs.

Ms. Brennan's perspective is unique amongst the many who knew or worked with Steve Jobs. She was there before he became famous, and she was there as he rose to fame. According to many other parties who have told stories about Mr. Jobs's early days, she was the object of his frequent criticism and she was on the receiving end of his denial that he was the father of the baby Lisa.

Mr. Jobs rectified that later in life, of course, but Ms. Brennan's story is being pitched as her personal view of the younger Steve Jobs. Philip Elmer-Dewitt noted at Fortune that the book's serial rights were picked up by News Corp.'s New York Post, a publication known for its salacious take on the world. Note, for instance, this passage:

Steve would order the same meal night after night, yet he'd complain bitterly each evening about the little side sauces that were served with it, cutting the air with disdain for the waitstaff who would serve up such greasy-salty-tasteless-mock-fine cuisine. He seemed to assume that everyone at the restaurant should know better than to serve up such wallpaper paste — not only to him, but at all. Steve would run down the waitstaff like a demon, detailing the finer points of good service, which included the notion that "they should be seen only when he needed them." Steve was uncontrollably critical. His reactions had a Tourette's quality — as if he couldn't stop himself.

Of course, it must have been sort of wild to have your genius recognized at the age of twenty-two, to be thrust into such a role of authority.

That's the sort of dirt that has long been known about Steve Jobs's early years, but from what sounds like will be a far more personal angle than the stories that have been told by Mr. Jobs's employees and peers.

The Bite in the Apple is scheduled for release on October 29th, and it is available on Amazon for US$11.04 and Apple's iBooks for $12.99.

As a side note, I was surprised the book is listed on iBooks considering that Apple once banned all Wiley books from its fleet of retail Apple Stores when the publisher refused to pull the unauthorized biography iCon Steve Jobs (Amazon—and ironically?—iBooks). Clearly today's Apple is either more circumspect, or perhaps even kinder and gentler, than it used to be.

Then again, Steve Jobs himself gave Walter Isaacson unfettered access to his life, both personal and professional, when he finally accepted how sick he was in the last few years of his life. In the biography called Steve Jobs (Amazon, iBooks) that resulted from that access was this passage:

"I wanted my kids to know me," he said. "I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did. Also, when I got sick, I realized other people would write things about me if I died, and they wouldn't know anything. They'd get it all wrong. So, i wanted to make sure someone heard what I had to say."

Personally, I'd love to know what Mr. Jobs thought about this particular book from Chrisann Brennan, because it's hard to argue that she "wouldn't know anything."