Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Spare by Prince Harry

Spare by Prince Harry

Release Date - January 10, 2023

Publisher Website - Penguin Random House

Publisher Social Media - Twitter

Pages - 410 pages

My Rating - 3/5

**purchased **

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last

A memoir is a hard thing to critique. It is someone's experiences in their own words. It makes commenting on the events in the novel difficult. I went into Spare with no real set expectations. I wanted to read it out of a sense of curiosity but also to learn about the young boy I remember watching walk behind his mother's coffin when I was a teenager.

I imagine that lnowing you were the  'spare' would come with its own set of baggage and issues. I cannot imagine knowing as a child that you were the 'less important' one compared to your sibling. Harry was definitely aware of this from a young age and it was something that was even discussed by his family. It is something that lingered for me as I read even though for Harry it was something that always just was. It was a fact that he just always knew.

The fact that a ghostwriter was used for this is not a secret. They were pretty forthcoming that Harry did not write this by himself. The writing is, however, a highlight. It is very well written and well paced. It feels natural so that the reader becomes engrossed in the story. It makes the reader feel that the story is being told to us rather than us reading it ourselves.

The most prevailing thing I took away from this book is a complete distain for the reporters, paparazzi, and others who took a traumatic event in a young child's life and made it a spectator sport. Harry despises all of them and it is easy to see why. The culture that is cultivated around him led to hardship for not just Harry but those around him. His previous girlfriends were stalked and harassed for simply daring to date him. The impact on others of him being the Prince is what struck me the most. It made connecting with people harder in a lot of ways. Everythig he did was scrutinized. His grief and private struggles were made public for everyone to comment on. The mistakes that were made when he was younger were put under a harsh spotlight.

Ownership is something that, for me, ran through this novel. Harry made some mistakes as a young man. He will be the first to admit those mistakes. There is definitely some ownership of those mistakes and his role in them. He is, however, also quick to point out the role others played in these mistakes. I do think time and experience has made Harry see these events more clearly but I do think he is still growing and learning. 

The last part of the book detailing how cruel everyone was to Megan was heartbreaking. Harry shares enough while recognizing that part of it is not his story to tell. There are many examples of how awful people were to Megan but that this cruelty extended to bringing their infant son into it is inexcusable. Those who may have wondered why they left England will not after finishing this book. Harry did the right thing for his wife and they did what was best for their family.

If you have any interest in the British monarchy I would recommend this book. If you are at all curious about Harry and Megan I definitely recommend this book. It is a vulnerable, if one sided, look at the life of a young man who grew up in the public eye and wanted to tell his story in his words.

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