Book Review: Too Much and Never Enough

by | Book Recommendations, Book Review

With less than 30 days until American citizens head to the polls in one of the most tense and divisive elections in US history, there is no better time to read Mary L. Trump’s ‘Too Much and Never Enough.’ The niece of President Trump, Mary Trump’s tell-all book leaves nothing to the imagination, never tip-toeing around certain details of her family’s bizarre behaviours and will have done no favours to her Uncle’s re-election campaign.

At just under 250 pages, Mary Trump’s book isn’t biblical in length but it gives the reader a wealth of information and salacious ‘gossip’ about one of the most famous families in the world. It is extremely well researched with Trump’s sister, Maryanne as one of Mary’s key sources of information. Having read this back in July, it comes as no surprise to me that this book sold well over a million copies on its day of publication.

Mary Trump states in ‘Too Much and Never Enough’ that she has no desire to ‘cash in or out of a desire for revenge’ by writing this book. In fact, if either of those were her intention, she would have written it a long time ago when her Uncle wasn’t in a position to threaten whistle-blowers and abuse his critics. Instead, she writes, ‘the events of the last three years have forced (my) hand, and I can no longer remain silent….I can’t let him destroy my country.’

Having read ‘Too Much and Never Enough’, it is no longer a mystery why Trump had an obsession with Obama’s college transcripts and reports. According to Mary Trump, her Uncle cheated his way into business school, employing a smart kid with a history of good grades to take his SATs for him. ‘This was much easier to pull off in the days before Photo IDs and computerised records’ she writes before claiming that cheating is her Uncle’s ‘way of life’.

Possibly one of the least surprising claims in the book is about Trump’s treatment of women. It is a well known fact that he is a misogynist, but when Mary Trump briefly worked for her Uncle as a ghostwriter, she claims she was presented with a compendium of women he had expected would want to date him but after rejecting him became, in his eyes ‘the worst, ugliest and fattest slobs he’d ever met’. Everyone knows about the comments Trump has made about his daughter, Ivanka but Mary Trump tells of the time she stayed at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and upon seeing her in a swimsuit, he bellowed ‘Holy shit, Mary. You’re stacked!’

As a trained clinical psychologist, Mary Trump describes the lives of her Uncle and his siblings as being shaped by child abuse. Her father, Fred Trump Jr died from alcoholism in the early 1980s, but he had been neglected and seen as ‘weak’ by his father. Donald had treated his older brother poorly, humiliating and mocking him. When Fred Trump Jr was dying, Donald saw it as a perfect time to go to the cinema. Mary Trump claims that her Grandfather’s status as a ‘high-functioning psychopath’  and her Grandmother’s illness and absence led her Uncle to ‘acquire personality traits of narcissism, bullying and grandiosity’.

In the Epilogue to ‘Too Much and Never Enough’, Mary Trump looks at Trump’s refusal to acknowledge and properly handle the COVID-19 crisis. Mary argues that if her Uncle had alerted the appropriate agencies when he was warned to, if he had acknowledged the severity of the imminent pandemic and invoked the Defense Production Act of 1950 to begin production of the necessary equipment, many Americans would be safe and deaths could have been prevented. Rather, states are forced to buy equipment from private contractors which are then commandeered by the federal government and redistributed to private contractors to be re-sold. ‘While thousands of Americans die alone, Donald touts stock market gains. As my father lay dying alone, Donald went to the movies. If he can in any way profit from your death, he’ll facilitate it, and then he’ll ignore the fact you died.’

3 months after the publication of her book, US COVID-19 cases have topped 7.5 million with 213 thousand deaths. The President himself is in hospital with the illness having vehemently denied the seriousness of the virus for months; it is odd that he did not take his own advice to treat it with disinfectant or bleach.

You can buy the book from Blackwells here.

Words by Ali Langhorn.

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