This post was originally written for my travel blog, Fernweh Follies:
Rating: 1 out of 5
Title: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man
Author: Mary L. Trump, PhD
Page count: 214
Publication Date: July 2020
I had a bit of an embarrassing experience with this posting: I had scheduled this publication to release ahead of time about a month back because I was confident I would finish this book far before the month was up.
- I did not finish the book
- I published a blank blog post
I could say that I didn’t finish this read because I was busy with work or stressed with my personal life, but the honest-to-God reason is simpler than that: I really didn’t want to read this book.
I made it through roughly an eighth of the read before putting it down. This isn’t saying much seeing as the book is only 214 pages. The part of the book that I did read included Mary Trump’s preface. Her opening line is, “Much of this book comes from my own memory.”
I knew when I bought this book that Mary Trump was Donald’s niece and a psychologist with a PhD. At first I didn’t take that to heart and let my morbid curiosity win out. But, when I read that first line, I was instantly unsettled.
When I was younger I was diagnosed with OCD. I started seeing a psychologist regularly and as I grew up I found out my uncle was a psychiatrist. I was still young enough not to really know the difference, so I asked my mom if I could talk to my uncle about my OCD like I talked to my therapist. Her response, while blurred in my mind, went something like this, “He’s family, honey. He’s not supposed to work on family.”
For psychiatrists, like my uncle, this rule is in place because they are doctors– it’s a part of the medical code of ethics. After starting this book, I got curious if the same rules apply for psychologists, who can be doctors in a PhD sense, but otherwise are not medically trained. According to Counseling Today,
The 2014 ethics code prohibits engaging in counseling relationships with family members with whom the counselor cannot remain objective.Ethics Update by Joy Natwick, Counseling Today, April 2017
It is clear within the first five pages of this book that Mary Trump holds a very subjective view of her father’s family, let alone Donald Trump. Because of her very clear biases, I quickly realized I felt she was emotionally unfit to write a psychological analysis of her uncle. As a psychologist with a PhD I think she had to have realized the same thing but went along with it anyway.
Mary may not be proud of her relations to the current POTUS (and it sounds like she’s not the only one in her family that feels that way) but on a professional level, Mary Trump should not have written this book, which is why I stopped reading.
As more and more days of this pandemic slip by and it seems less and less likely that I will see my grandparents this Christmas, I have come to the conclusion that family is more important than almost everything in my life. It makes me sympathize with the other members of the Trump family that did not stepped up and vocalized their disapproval of Trump as president. The Trumps are clearly messed up and Donald may be a monster, but he’s still a brother, an uncle, and family to these people.
You can’t choose who you’re related to but you can choose how you react to your relatives. I hope Mary Trump does something good with the money she’s made off of this tell-all– like donating 50% of the proceeds to the Biden/Harris campaign. For me, I’m putting my copy into one of my neighborhood’s book exchange boxes and will try my best not to dwell on the fact that I wasted $30.00.
Here is the small florilegium I created from the portion of the book I managed to read:
Much of this comes from my own memory: I wonder why the White House hadn't thought casual dehumanization of people was commonplace? She ran the house, but he ruled it
My next book review will (hopefully) come out October 21. I will finally be reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. This one is one I’ve wanted to read for years so I can’t wait to get started.