I was just walking through the airport and saw “Spare” by Prince Harry in one of the bookstores which reminded me that I actually finished it a few days ago. I like reading biographies so it is no surprise that when this one came out, it went on my radar almost right away. I wanted to keep it for later in the year but somehow here we are.
As you can guess, “Spare” is a memoir by Prince Harry which includes his childhood, his young years, dealing with the loss of his mother as well as his first years of marriage. Firstly, I don’t follow all the royal family drama so I don’t know much about it from the news. I did though watch the “Crown” on Netflix and found it to be a good show. One thing that struck me when reading the book is that I kept on thinking that I hope the loneliness of the royal family that we saw in the “Crown” won’t be actually like this in the real life. But based on that book, it was. I don’t know if it was one of the main intended themes of the book but for me, it was perhaps the most important one. I think the world can be a lonely place and one’s family is perhaps one of the first places where we feel loved, and supported, as a part of the community. There was nothing like that in the book, and I found it to be a shame.
Another theme that was covered in the book was that Harry felt stuck in his role – he felt like he had no freedom to do basic things like grocery shopping or walking around the street or going to a restaurant because of the constant violation from the press. I felt a bit on the fence about this – I am sure he was stuck and what he says is valid but what I kept on thinking is that it is much worse to be poor and to be stuck than to be rich and to be stuck. This comes a bit weird from the man who, as he described himself, was still about to go on trips with his buds and spend time in lavish resorts. Imagine having no possibility to go anywhere at all outside of your small village somewhere in the middle of Africa? I felt like the man had no idea of what it felt like to be truly stuck somewhere.
In one of the reviews of the book that I read, someone mentioned that this book felt like the author just could not be stopped. I think this is perhaps the aspect that I appreciated: it was honest and raw and I think this is what makes a good biography. You might agree or disagree with the author on certain points but you can’t deny that it is written with candor. I preferred this style so much more to the one of Tom Felton.
“I savored the normality, wallowed in it, and also considered how far I’d journeyed to find it. Central Afghanistan, the dead of winter, the middle of the night, the midst of a war, while speaking to a man fifteen thousand feet above my head – how abnormal is your life if that’s the first place you ever feel normal?”
“The storm was getting worse. We had to go. We restarted the boats and cruised away. Goodbye, we whispered to the elephants. I eased into the middle of the current, lit a cigarette, and told my memory to hold on to this encounter, this unreal moment when the line between me and the external world grew blurry or disappeared outright. Everything, for one half second, was one. Everything made sense. Try to remember how it felt to be that close to the truth, the real truth: That life isn’t all good, but it isn’t all bad either.”
“I followed his advice to the letter. I told myself to stay present. Be the snow, be the cold, be each step, and it worked. I fell into the loveliest trance, and even when my thoughts were dark, I was able to stare at them, watch them float away. Sometimes it would happen that I’d watch my thoughts connect to other thoughts and all at once the whole chain of thoughts would make some sense. For instance, I considered all of the previous challenging walks of my life – the North Pole, the Army exercises, following Mummy’s coffin to the grave – and while the memories were painful, they also provided continuity, structure, a kind of narrative spine that I’d never suspected. Life was one long walk. It made sense. It was wonderful. All was interdependent and interconnected…”
Overall, I think this biography is worth a read. It won’t blow your mind but it will engage you for sure!