A satirical depiction of President Donald Trump’s personal correspondence.
Debut author Hess, a pseudonymous New York City–based journalist, says in a fictional introduction that he was anonymously contacted last year, via email, by someone who claimed to possess a storehouse of Trump’s personal letters—all written in 2018—and was willing to share them. The bulk of the book is an assemblage of these fanciful missives—38 in all—mostly written to people who’ve figured prominently in the drama of Trump’s tenure. Hess’ version of Trump bitterly attacks lawyer Michael Cohen, adult-film actor Stormy Daniels, and comedian “Rosanne” [sic] Barr and mercilessly taunts Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and President Emmanuel Macron of France, whom he calls a “crybaby.” He also gushes fawningly about his “buddy,” Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hess addresses Trump’s notorious complaints about “fake news,” his contention that climate change is a hoax, and the threat that he asserts that Mexican immigrants pose to the nation. Some of the epistles have a more personal tone—one, written to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is unsettlingly creepy. The author is at his best when he departs from the predictable highlights of the daily news cycle, as when he has Trump counsel Allah: “I think if you want to surpass the Christian God in a jiffy, you should have a daughter as soon as possible.” Also, he adeptly captures the idiosyncrasies of Trump’s speech as well as his relentless penchant for self-aggrandizement. In one of the book’s funniest moments, the president boasts of his popularity in a note to God, wondering if “wiping two or three countries off the face of this earth” would cement his own immortality. Hess’ irreverent work refreshingly makes light of a presidency that’s long been a tinderbox of angry contention. However, for the most part, he aims for obvious jokes and well-worn punchlines. This familiarity transforms into tedium very quickly, as the author seems more interested in heaping scorn on Trump than he is in earning laughs from readers.
A sometimes-funny but uninventive sendup of the current president of the United States.