What I’m Reading: Spare

Okay…I couldn’t resist. I picked up the audiobook Spare by Prince Harry. Okay. I admit it. I do keep up a bit with the royal family. I am not a gossip column reader but I do watch The Crown. I don’t believe all the tabloid gossip that someone is “mean to their staff and everyone quits” type of stuff. I have watched the weddings on television. I have watched interviews that have been given. I remember watching television when Dianna was killed…(and I do say killed because I believe photographers were instrumental in the accident).

I think the attraction to me is tradition…and disbelief. Two things that are completely and totally different. Tradition because, “hey, it’s the queen”, and disbelief because I can’t imagine ever having to live with that attention. I can’t imagine being a family disappointment over something as simple as making a poor choice. I can’t imagine being in the spot light like that. I can’t imagine the pressure of having your life served up on a dinner plate for people to judge. Curiosity gets to me and I admittedly, if something comes from an interview or a book in this case, am in. Thus, I picked up the audiobook.

So what did I think? I am not going to say I liked the book or not. How can I like someone’s pain? I did find it interesting. Do I believe it all word for word…probably not. I do believe this is likely the way Harry remembers it though. I do believe it is his truth. I’m sad for him to have felt the way he does.

I’m not surprised in the least about the family rift. It’s a family…and families have troubles. Just because they are “royal” doesn’t mean they can avoid family problems, especially when one child is set to be king…and the other is not.

I know on the outside, it looks all rosy at my house to blog readers but that’s not true. We have troubles from time to time too but we’ve learned to talk about them and deal with them so most things are nipped in the bud before they are blown out into huge proportions. We also have something in our family, unconditional love. Sadly, I think the royal family lacks that. It’s very sad.

Many people have admired the monarchy for their public service. It is admirable. I do respect it and I do appreciate it. I do have trouble with the passive way the press was dealt with though.

I more admire a momma bear who will do whatever they can to protect their young. Protocols be damned. I would never let anyone do and say or treat anyone in my family like that.

Just think, if all these years ago the monarchy would have modernized and pushed back at the press where they would be today. The gossip rags would not have the power…people would be living happier lives married to the people they wanted to marry.

Several times in the book I couldn’t help but think, you’re the queen. You’re the future king. How can you let the press have the power they have over your family? Not on my watch would I let that happen. How can you let assistants have that much power? You all know I’m a family first gal…and the monarchy from the view of this book, does not do that.

I do have trouble trying to figure out how Prince Andrew can “be okay” with them and they not denounce him but do denounce Harry. Weird. I’ll take a rebel over a sex offender any day.

Of course, I readily admit this is one side of the story…the other sides are staying quiet so how can anyone know what is the real story and what isn’t. It isn’t my job to know.

As you can see the book was very thought provoking…

Part of me can’t help but wonder about Harry…if you don’t want the press, then why stir it up with a book…with interviews? Who knows…maybe it’s a fight fire with fire type of situation.

Whatever it all is…I listened to the book. It reminded me again how thankful I am that I’m just a farm girl in Iowa who doesn’t have loads of money and resources, who happens to quilt, cross stitch, and have a family that I love and who loves me in return. I would MUCH rather that any amount of money or fame.

Here is what Amazon had to say…

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.

Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight.

At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love. 

Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . .

For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

Amazon readers gave the book 4.6 stars. I guess I will say the same. I do think the writing was pretty good. I’m sure he had an assistant writer and I always get frustrated when they are not mentioned. Few people can just sit down and write a book and organize a book especially someone who admittedly, didn’t like school work…that makes me think he had a co-author.

If you’re a royal watcher…I’d read it. If you’re like my son Karl who thinks the whole system is odd and doesn’t deserve a mention…I’d skip it. If you are interested, you can find the book HERE.

If you did read it…let me know in the comments what you thought. I’m curious.


12 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Spare”

  1. Ana Marie Sweet

    I read it from the library. I came away thinking the death of his mother affected him in a powerful and negative way. I felt perhaps he did not get the support he needed at just that age. He did try to find a “love” earlier but none of the women could handle living a public life. At least he just kept trying. Felt it was worth the read once.

  2. If you’re not familiar with the English gutter press it can come as a real shock. It’s much worse than anything we have here. And quite a bit of it is/was owned by Rupert Murdoch. Yes, that one.
    The Milly Dowler case finally took out News of the World, but there’s plenty left, like the Daily Mail.
    The irony is that some of the world’s finest reporting, like the Guardian, which I read daily, and the BBC (ditto) are also English. I really like getting a non-American perspective on the news.

  3. I also listened to the audio version and felt very grateful afterwards that my life is much simpler. It’s not a job I would want.

  4. When I saw the interview with Oprah, I thought a lot of the reason behind the discord within the family (and the subsequent move to the US) was because of Megan’s unhappiness with them. She claimed not to know very basic things about the royal family before she married Harry. After reading the book, things do seem clearer and it seems she put a lot of effort into getting along with everyone. Seems she was quite popular with the locals in many ways that Diana was. The press was/is such an obstacle. I gathered that Harry decided to write the book to tell his side of the story when Charles and William professed to not have a clue why they left England. This was to be his answer to their “why?”. I read the book on loan from the library so I no longer have it accessible, but I believe they said at the beginning (maybe the forward?) that he had a writer working with him who took his words and put it to paper. I could be wrong about that, but that is my recollection. I wholeheartedly agree with you that they are lacking the core values in a good family life: unconditional love, allowances made for bad decisions/choices. Why the Queen didn’t stand up for her family to the press, I don’t understand. I think William and Kate will eventually see in Louis and maybe Charlotte some of the troubles that Harry experienced as a spare. But of course, their childhood will be quite different from Harry’s. I am glad I read it. I also watched The Crown. I find it hard to celebrate Charles and Camilla, considering how ugly the whole situation was regarding Diana. They are not the ideal couple to be held up as “royalty”. Also agree with your comparison of how Harry is treated vs Andrew. Wow.

  5. I listened to Spare a few weeks ago and it broke my heart to think that Harry felt and still feels unsupported and likely unloved by those who should be supporting and loving him the most. His mother was his rock and her murder was devastating. I realize that his book is told by one side – but he is telling his side and how he feels. And I admire him for taking his new family out of the toxic environment to a place that feels safer for them, even though in his leaving ‘the family’ cut off all support and security detail they should probably have. As far as still doing publicity things to be in the spotlight, the fact that they need to earn a living to support their family (and I would guess a expensive private security detail) writing a book and doing public speaking and appearances are probably things that they can do. Earning opportunities are probably pretty limited due to fame, security concerns, and skill sets. It was an interesting read, with probably more common insight into the royal family than we would get from anyone from the ‘inside’. One story that stood out to me was when Megan went to meet the queen and Harry explained that he would bow and she would curtsy, and Megan said something like ‘What? She’s your Grandma!’

  6. As a Brit I am very disappointed with Prince Harry. Yes, he’s the Spare, that’s how it is, that was what he always knew. That allowed him to be more free to choose what to do with his life: Army, good works in Africa, Invictus Games. All excellent and the latter two I’m sure faithfully following his mother’s pattern of caring and good works. I’m sure his mother death has been devastating ( all our lives are littered with deaths which we have to try to come to terms with) and Prince William lost his mother too, again at far too young an age but he has then had to shape up into the sterling fellow he is, our future King. Harry deliberately chose to make his new life in the States with his American wife and two children, casting off his Royal duties and cutting himself off from his family and friends so he can’t have it both ways. None of us would choose to be a Royal family member with all the expectations, ridiculous pressure from the Press, hundreds of duties, having little time to be a private family but Prince William has shown it is possible to do. He and his wife Catherine are leading the way towards a new style Royal Family, supporting his father and step mother who are also doing excellent jobs and I applaud them all. I shall be watching every minute of the Coronation. So, Harry, settle down to your new life in America, enjoy your wife and children and new friends and let King Charles and the Prince of Wales Prince William continue to shoulder their Royal duties. So admirably.

  7. I have not listened to or read The Spare, so enjoyed reading your review. I can only imagine what a life in the royal is really like – thankfully!! I, too, am glad I have my simple life – enough money, but not too much and a family with unconditional love (that’s the big one).

  8. I made it halfway through listening and didn’t think it was worth finishing. Enjoyed the crown and Victoria though.

  9. My late husband was English and I’ve been to England many times. The first time I went to London, I read the newspaper and was totally shocked. I asked my husband privately why his elderly parents were reading such a trashy newspaper (almost naked women and crap made up stories). He said that was a normal newspaper. I was very uncomfortable and wouldn’t look at the newspapers again, they were all basically the same. I have not ever followed anything that goes on there based on what I read years ago from those newspapers. The British might want to say the book is lies but I think it’s probably at least half true.

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