If you're looking for a summer beach read, "Born Trump" isn't it. It is a clumsy and lightweight repetition of all the gossip/dirt/dish we’ve been exposed to about this “first family” for the last two years. (More than that if you’ve been a New York Post Page Six reader and followed the Trumps and their real estate empire, reality shows, and myriad scandals.)
The haste with which this book was written is telling. No photos! No index. Bad grammar and spelling. (“Payed” for “paid” is one of several in-your-face examples.) Run-on sentences. Harper Collins, establishment publisher, couldn’t afford a copy editor or proofreader? Or to buy photos? (Photos are very much worth including in books like these, if only to keep track of the Before and After plastic surgeries.)
And now look at that cover again. Telling. The Trump child few know anything about, Tiffany Trump, child of Donald and second wife Marla Maples, is leaving the frame. She owns the book’s slimmest chapter, almost as an afterthought. The two prominent children are the golden couple Jared and Ivanka –Jarvanka, as the media so lovingly dubs them – and Jared Kushner was not born a Trump but a Kushner. Who’s missing? The youngest Trump, Barron, son of Donald and Melania. (And little if anything is said about him save for one telling anecdote concerning his confusion when he was a wedding ringbearer.)
We’ve all seen their kind before: spoiled rich kids touched neither by intellectual or any other prowess nor concern for humanity. Partiers, budding alcoholics, philanderers, all with a nauseating, overwhelming sense of entitlement …plus access to good plastic surgeons, fashion stylists, and public relations people to further enhance and gild their image. (If they were furniture, their mother Ivana would have had them covered in gold.)
Dysfunctional offspring of sadly dysfunctional families. One could almost feel sorry for them. Almost.
The author, Emily Jane Fox, is a young woman who is a senior editor at Vanity Fair’sTheHive feature, i.e., one would consider her a serious journalist. That magazine – led by its former smart-as-a-whip editor Graydon Carter –was/is been particularly hard on the Trumps – and the Kushners – and its brimming files no doubt served as firm underpinnings for Fox’s story. She also acknowledges the aid of a researcher. For me, her prose does not flow. She tends to pepper her prose with terms like “Voltrons” – describing the Trump children – and adjectives like “honking”,used to describe Tiffany Trump’s blue eyes as well as other attributes of this bunch. (For those not in the know, as I was not, honking is slang for anything large, excessive, or otherwise disproportionate. Voltron refers to some kiddy show.) It’s really irritating for those of us old fogies not up on trendy slang or sci-fi kiddy shows.
So, yes, you will pick up some few new stories and repeats of the old that have already made the rounds of the gossip pages about this bunch – some of which were inaccurately used in other reviews I looked at, such as the term “choad” used to describe Eric at college, when the term stuck to him because he used it to describe others – and they are all as equally distasteful as that one. (Choad is an unfortunate birth defect, a rare genetic condition, involving one’s penis.) And do we really need to know that big-game hunter/he-man Don Junior used to wet his pants on beds – his and those of others -- after binge drinking at his fraternity, leading to his widely-used nickname of “Diaper Don”?Yuck!
Another revelation is how nasty the Kushner family behaves towards family members and others who have the ill luck to cross their path, led first and foremost by their patriarch, Charlie Kushner, a piece of work not unlike The Donald. (Chris Christie’s pursuit of this Kushner and eventual jailing of for tax evasion, et cetera, when he was with the Justice Department supposedly led to Jared’s thumbs down on Christie for a larger role in the Trump administration. Yeah, they can hold a grudge, thesebeautiful golden folks.)
And good parenting is a skill – if you didn’t know that already – a lot of money and numerous nannies does not guarantee success in this so important arena. None of the parents described here would qualify for a Parent of the Year award. None, in my opinion, none.
Is any of that worth almost $30 for a copy of this tome? Personally, I think not. And I am doing youa service with this review. Do not believe the gushing reviews – I still am trying to get over the one done by the Kirkus Review – but these media folks protect their own and Fox is apparently well-liked by her peers, which is nice, but perhaps prevents more honest evaluations.
This is not a good book,nor one worth reading, though I have to give credit to the research. (Again, though, with the Vanity Fair files as a base, hard to go wrong there.)In all honesty, it’s boring.
So my advice is to take a romance novel or two – seriously, there’s some great romance writing– to the beach with you, or one of the many crime thrillers by people who really can write and know how to tell a good story, and forget this one. You’ll be glad you did. There’s always Page Six for the other stuff.