Mary Trump’s account is an absolutely gripping read, and throws a bright light on the dysfunctional family into which she was born. In some ways, it tells us nothing new, and nothing that we hadn’t imagined to be the case with Donald Trump, his megalomania and sociopathy, and how he is ,perhaps, incapable of behaving as a decent person. I had rather bought into the myth that he was a self-made man ( other than a loan for a million pounds from hi
s father) But the book details in irrefutable detail just how hugely and stupidly unsuccessful he was as a tycoon.
What it does also is place him firmly as a product of his family environment and Mary Trump explores the impact of her grandparents’ inhuman treatment, not just on Donald, her uncle, but on her tragic father, who is an early victim of the family’s cruel and unloving behaviour. His inability to be a “killer” businessman, and to cope with his father’s expectations, leads him to be supplanted by his brother Donald. His early death from alcohol related problems seems inevitable. Equally unsurprising is the way in which the rest of the family then disinherit Mary and her brother on her grandfather’s death.
My favourite OMG moment comes when Mary reveals how Ivana bestows a second hand handbag on Mary’s mother as a Christmas gift- clearly an expensive brand but with a used tissue inside.
The author’s tone throughout is distanced and calm which adds to the story’s impact. But what comes across too is her sense of sorrow.
There is so much more the book could have covered and it seems to end very suddenly which was a little disconcerting. ( A quarter of the book’s length as an ebook is given over to the appendix.) But there is definitely the sense that the author is in a race against time with the upcoming US elections and the ongoing mass deaths from the Covid pandemic.
Not exactly enjoyable but fascinating.