Too Much & Never Enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man, by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D.

My Copy: 9781982141462 (image from bn.com)

I started reading this yesterday when I had nothing else to do during a power outage (as it’s been hot as hell thanks to that hurricane passing by). I finished it a couple of hours ago, and had to think about how strange it was to read this book.

It was strange because all the things I’ve complained about happening the past few months regarding die-hard Trump supporters–the inability to take criticism, believing hype at the expense of facts, doubling-down on initial plans or viewpoints, refusing to take responsibility for things–they were all laid out in these pages as part of Donny boy’s growing up, and the crazy family dynamics.

Too Much and Never Enough is a pretty famous book already, so I’m sure most of you have read a ton of reviews about it already. It’s largely in chronological order with some asides to refer to things that may seem familiar to the reader regarding Trump’s presidency the past few years. Mary Trump is Donald’s niece, the daughter of the firstborn son named after the father, Fred. Using her background in psychology, she tells a short biography of the Trump family from the children’s birth and the relationship of Fred and Mary Ann as the clan’s heads. There was a ton of dysfunction in the marriage, and more and more things began to revolve around money.

You couldn’t pay me enough to be part of this family. Fred held the reigns of power in the home, and his rule was absolute. He was a man without humor, or imagination, or much if any feeling, it seems. He groomed his eldest, Freddy, to take over for him, but Freddy didn’t seem to have the ruthless instinct dad tried to drill into him. Donald witnessed his older brother’s humiliations time and again, and learned how to get what he wanted. And in the process, because Freddy stepped out and found his passion elsewhere, he would be made to pay for “betraying” the family. And so would Freddy’s wife and kids.

There’s a lot in here about Freddy and Donald and how Fred related to them both. Mary inputs many of her own memories when she was present for certain events, recounts cold holiday gatherings.

I remember reading about the Kennedy clan and the sibling rivalry that went on with the boys especially, because Joseph P. Kennedy wanted winners in his family. They would one-up each other, but were still family for the most part. Trump’s family was like a battle royale for acknowledgement and approval, but Fred only took time with one son, and all others were losers. Freddy was supposed to be “the one,” then Donald became the only one that mattered when Freddy tried to go his own way.

Honestly, after reading this, I wonder how the hell Fred and Mary Ann had so many kids, since neither seemed to have much time for any of them, or care for them on a personal level. Fred wanted a legacy to survive him. Mary Ann just cared for the girls in between illnesses and left the boys be until their behavior became too much.

The book is just the right length, not overly clinical and complicated (as some might fear). Reading how awful Fred was to his family just makes me shudder. I had to put it down every few chapters to take a minute and absorb. There aren’t graphic descriptions of child beatings or anything like that in these pages. However, children can still suffer profound abuse without getting a scratch on them, and this book is proof of how hurtful that is, and how long lasting the effects.

Obviously if you despise Trump, you may want to read this one. I think it’s worth it. If you love Trump, you’ll skim through it at best and only get mad at the writer for what she exposed and call her a liar anyway. I’m hanging on to this one, because it’s probably one of the best written bios I’ve read in a while.

Granted, I haven’t read many, but I’ll be working my way through them eventually.

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