Book reports are not the most popular of my blog posts. The one from yesterday got 9 whole hits. But, if I ever need to know what books I was reading starting in 2018, I know where to look!
I had a feeling I’d read Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, by Mary L. Trump all in one sitting. I came close. Was it some sort of morbid curiosity? I guess so. But I have always wondered how the bellicose and supremely self-confident persona of the person currently serving as US President came about. I figured he must have had a really weird family.
Yes. He had a really weird family. The fact that his father was a gen-u-ine psychopath and narcissist and his mother was emotionally (and physically) not there during his formative years explains a lot. Also, you know, genetics probably played a role; he seems to have gotten more of his dad’s stuff than some of his other siblings, who each didn’t fare well in their household of origin to varying extents.
You can read Mary Trump’s assessment for yourself, so that’s enough about him for me. I was more interested in Mary (forgive me, but I’m not good at typing her last name). When a family member writes a tell-all, you tend to think, hmm, what is their agenda here? What’s their beef? And Mary, to her credit, completely admits she has a beef or two, like how her father was treated by the family patriarch, how no one did jack shit to help the current President deal with any of his issues and learn that anything whatsoever counted other than himself and looking good, how any disagreement with the family’s current lies about itself was punished incredibly harshly (like not mentioned in obituaries, written out of wills, etc.).
She’s NOT an impartial observer, but only someone who has been IN the family could write about it, thus, we get her viewpoint. I think she does a pretty good job at being fair, and you can see she loves many of her family members.
While acknowledging her part in the family drama, Mary kept me riveted while laying out the series of events that got us to where we are today, and like one of my friends who has also already finished the book, you almost feel sorry for young DJT. He didn’t stand a chance. I just wanted to know what horror that family would perpetuate next as I sped from chapter to chapter.
Two of my favorite bits in the book come toward the end, so let me share:
“Nobody has failed upward as consistently and spectacularly as the ostensible leader of the shrinking free world…Donald today is as much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.”p. 197
Happy days. I read this just before reading about Federal troops continuing to detain peaceful protesters around the country, just before reading that some random angry dude in Austin shot and killed a protester who was trying to stop him from driving into a crowd that included his paraplegic wife, just before reading about yet another party full of mask-less people hugging and celebrating in my town. Yow.
It’s frequently suggested that we just look for the good in life right now, and not worry about things beyond our control. And I’m all for remembering that it’s not all bad, I have amazing friends and family, and the universe is amazing. However, not to acknowledge what is going on, to hope it will all go away (like so many people are doing with respect to the Narcissist in Chief) seems to me like fiddling while Rome burns.
If everyone sticks their heads in the sand, we’ll suffocate. Mary Trump’s book begs the people of this country and the world to actually DO something to help us get leadership with a focus on making life good for all, not just looking good for one’s long-dead father.
PS: These are my opinions and interpretations. I have no intentions of trying to change anyone’s minds on any political topic. Everyone makes their own decisions based on their upbringing and values. It’s okay.