excerpts from ANDREA PEYSER'S review in the NYP
Mary Trump introduces herself as a trained clinical psychologist, and does not hesitate to indulge in psychobabble to diagnose DJT's alleged mental disorders, who’s presented as a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Bozo the Clown — a frightening and ridiculous figure who looms titanic over every aspect of Mary’s waking and sleeping life.
Her reason for telling the tale now is simple and urgent: Mary Trump believes, with the conviction of the Hillary Clinton supporter she was, that she must prevent her uncle’s re-election — by any means necessary. In 214 often bleak, raw and tear-jerking pages, she sets out to avenge the untimely death of her father, Frederick Christ Trump Jr., a chronic alcoholic known as Freddy.
As she tells it, Donald’s once-handsome and vital older brother, the guy bred to run the Trump family real-estate business, died broken and bitter, in 1981 at age 42. Mary Trump acknowledges reluctantly, Freddy Trump never wanted to work for Trump Management, and did everything in his power to escape, earning his pilot’s license, buying fishing boats and fancy cars, and attempting to live as something his grandfather sneeringly called a “chauffeur in the sky.’
But he lost his dream job as a TWA pilot, followed by losing a series of gigs because of decades of chronic alcoholism. His wife, Mary’s mother Linda, divorced him some time after he aimed a gun at her face while laughing uproariously.
Being a member of the Trump clan, even one who looks down on the means to the family fortune, brings with it loads of privilege, from holiday gatherings in the Queens mansion where Donald grew up with his kin, to family dinners at Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn, private educations, free health insurance and apartments in the outer boroughs of New York City.
Yet Mary’s complaints are varied and, at times, unintentionally hilarious: She moans that her dad had to pay rent to the company for his apartment (so why didn’t he move elsewhere?) and complains that his flat was kept at freezing temperatures. Plus, the building had no doorman. Horrors!
After the death of her grandfather, Fred Trumps Sr. Mary and her son were essentially cut out of his will, leading to a court battle, the details undisclosed.
Still, she proceeded to accept her uncle’s invitation to the White House in 2017, where she was shocked to observe a partially eaten apple on a table in the Lincoln Bedroom. But if she ever learned the perpetrator of Applegate, she didn’t tell.
Perhaps the book’s title should be adjusted to reflect the reality that Donald Trump may be many things — brash, blustery, and, in the eyes of house guest Mary, disastrous for the country.
But dangerous to whom?
It is Mary who is attempting to cash in by committing attempted character assassination against her own uncle, accusing him of everything from teaming up with his father to run her dad into the ground to making the unprovable claim that Donald hired someone to take the SAT’s for him.
All in all, Mary’s diagnosis of President Trump fails to persuade. But baring all her version of the family’s laundry may be therapy for her.
Psychologist, heal thyself.
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