Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Spare: Blogging Through the Book

Before Reading 

For the record, I am not into celebrity gossip.  I don't care who those strangers I see on television sleep with.  I don't care what they wear. I don't care who their kids are.  I don't read People or US.  I care about people I know and deal with, not strangers who just happen to be on TV.  So, why am I reading the gossip book of the year, Spare, by Prince Harry?  I don't know--but I did get it from my Cloud Library account through my public library, I did not put out money for it beyond taxes.

Before I picked it up, I figured it would be a book about a guy who doesn't want to work in the family business but who still wants to get payments from it.  I don't have any problem with Harry saying that the family business of getting your picture taken and being the public face of Great Britain was not for him.  You couldn't pay me enough to take that job.  There has been plenty in the press about the way Prince Charles was raised and about the marriage of Charles and Diana and the death of Diana that I never figured Harry and William had the ideal childhood.  I figured it would be a lot of "poor me".  

34% Through

I can't say I've read anything that surprised me.  If Harry isn't in therapy, I recommend he get some.  Obviously the story is told from his P.O.V. and it would be interesting to see how others recall the same events.  As the title implies Harry sees everything through the eyes of the "spare"--his brother was the heir and he was there just in case.  While at times he and William were close, they were also rivals for their father's attention.  While they had opportunities that most of us only dream about, what Harry never felt  had after his mother died was supportive unconditional love.  

Ok, maybe one thing surprised me a little--and maybe that's because I don't know that much about child psychology.  Harry was twelve when his mother was killed but according to the book he maintained this belief that she had just disappeared to get away from the press and everyone who was making her miserable and that one day she would re-appear and call for the boys.  This was something he thought for quite some time.

A Little Further On

As a paralegal, I have worked on a case that was made into a book--the author called in non-fiction but really it was a novel.  After plowing through the huge tome my boss' conclusion was that the story needed a villain and didn't have one.  Spare has a villain---the press, or as Harry calls them, the "paps".  They hound him and his friends, disclose his presence in Afghanistan, and yes, for all practical purposes, killed his mother.  

About 2/3 Done    

Well, Harry has learned to fly a helicopter and has done another tour in Afghanistan.  William and Kate just had their first baby. Me, I'm starting to lose interest.   Harry is back from war and trying to find purpose and meaning in life.  The paps have cost him a girlfriend and we are told about how his external genitals got frostbite when he went to the North Pole.  I'm not suggesting a year by year memoir of my life would be all that exciting either--but I'm not writing one of those.  Guess I'll move to skimming.  

The Rest of the Book

How Harry meets Megan and its is love at first sight.  How the paps make life miserable.  The deaths of Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth.  Oh, yeah, the wedding of Harry and Meg and the births of Archie and Lillibet.  A trip to a medium to communicate with Dinah and conflict within the family.  Yawn.

As I said at the beginning, I am not a celebrity person.  This book is not my usual and while I read the whole thing to see if there was anything in there that really surprised me or changed my mind about it all, I can't say that it was all that great.  I've said before when reading memoirs, that it is hard to write one without coming across as self-absorbed and Spare is no exception.  

I understand that Harry's life and that of his family would probably be in danger if he moved into the house next to mine in a middle class suburb, got in his car and drove to his middle-class job while Meg dropped the kids at a middle-class daycare/school before heading off to her middle-class job.  Yet it is hard to feel sorry for someone who buys a multi-million dollar mansion.  Harry complains about his father cutting him off from the royal payroll but then also says he never had the opportunity to do much besides being royal.  He was trained for the family business but didn't like what came with it (other than the paycheck) so he quit but was hurt when the paycheck stopped.  His main issue with being Royal was the omni-present press yet he is now making his living as a celebrity.  Oh, well, he can cry (or laugh) all the way to the bank.  

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