In May, The New York Times published two poison-pen reviews of Ivanka Trump’s book Women Who Work. Jessa Crispin (Twitter handle @theBookSlut) ranted it sounded like “the scrambled Tumblr feed of a demented 12-year-old.” So it’s not surprising that the Times would slam her mother Ivana’s new book Raising Trump, complete with her ex-husband described as a “throbbing blister.”
Does anyone wonder why the Trumps might think the Times has an animus against them?
The Sunday Times Book Review carried this attack on the front cover, by liberal Vanity Fair scribbler James Wolcott. Ivana’s book was reviewed alongside Jerry Oppenheimer’s new biography of the Kardashians. Wolcott notes that Ivana Trump boasts that her children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka are all “faithful spouses, superb parents, accomplished business people and sterling assets during their father’s presidential campaign.” Wolcott finds that barely worth contemplating: he thought the title Raising Trump was all about “husband-wrangling.”
I fear Ivana has mistimed her memoir and misread the mood of the troubled country, which isn’t interested in heartwarming holiday tales, family recipes, cute anecdotes about her trying to order a glass of Chablis at a Taco Bell, tips on teaching kids manners and the grown-up kids’ rote testimonials reiterating throughout the text what a swell mom she was and is (Ivanka’s initial entry has all the warmth and personality of a ribbon-cutting ceremony). We’re past the point of indulging hokum with a high thread count.
Uppermost on the reader’s inquiring mind is how Ivana’s intimate perspective might help us unlock how the slick wheeler-dealer who charmed and courted her when she arrived in Manhattan in the 1970s — “an all-American good guy,” her instincts told her — mutated over the decades into a president so seething with ignorance, malice, prejudice and destruction. Some hints, that is, of how we got into our present predicament of being held hostage by a throbbing blister.
The only positive mention comes when Wolcott suggests Ivana “might have been a more inspiriting first lady than the inscrutable, animatronic Melania.” Oddly, he claims that since Ivana grew up in communist Czechoslovakia, invaded by the Soviets to put down rebels in 1968, she might be tougher on the Russians than Melania….who, ahem, grew up in communist Yugoslavia, which wasn’t liberated from the Russian orbit until she was 21.
When Ivana suggests her daughter could become the first female — and Jewish — president, Wolcott could only write “I’vana throw up.”