[REVIEW] Spare, by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex

The Kindle cover of Prince Harry's Spare, depicting his face in closeup, lies on a wooden table in between a glass of white wine and a burger.

(Buy this book from my shop.)

I’m not much of a royal watcher, despite having lived in Britain for some years in my late twenties and early thirties. The only members of the family I’ve ever paid any attention to are the late Princess Diana and her youngest son, and I really only started paying attention to the latter when he married Meghan Markle. I found their relationship fascinating, made all the more so by their departure from the royal family and the interviews they gave later airing out all of the palace’s dirty racist laundry.

Harry gets into all of that, but first, he gives us a startlingly vulnerable look at his life before becoming a family man. The way he found out about his mother’s death and the long delay in processing it emotionally, his difficulties in school, and his spiky relationship with his older brother are all laid out. He talks about finding himself as a young man through travels in Australia, Lesotho, and Botswana. He recounts his time in the military and how he rose to the challenge of becoming a helicopter pilot. (I was genuinely surprised to find that he really served in combat.)

Through it all, Harry seems like…well, not a regular guy, but a normal one, if that makes sense. Ultimately there’s no amount of power and privilege that can shield a person from the pain of being the odd one out, of being rejected, or of having to find your own way in a world that doesn’t want to see you succeed in a way they haven’t already decided for you. In some ways, power and privilege can make all of those things harder. They certainly make it harder for other people to sympathize. But for some reason, I really felt for Harry for most of this book. Sure, he’s a prince, but he’s also a guy who’s dealt with loneliness, anxiety, grief, and shame. He’s made big mistakes and great choices, and despite the whole prince thing, he’s very relatable through it all, even the really egregious bits that there really should be no excuse for. There are things in this book that really shouldn’t read as smoothly as they do–for instance, Harry’s explanation of his infamous N*zi uniform gaffe is a little too blithe and pleads a little too much ignorance for me to be entirely comfortable with it. But there’s a sense that Harry is growing and has grown so much as a person that I could accept it as part of the overall narrative of what he’s learned from life and where his younger years brought him.

The last third of the book is where he introduces us to Meghan Markle through his eyes, and wow. May we all be adored the way that Harry adores this woman. May we all adore someone the way she clearly adores him. Their love story is surprisingly simple(albeit assisted with lots of rich people opportunity), and even when surrounded by press and family drama there’s a fated sweetness in the way he talks about her that is wonderful.

I expected to like this a little, but I’m surprised that I relate to it so strongly. A round of drinks at the pub on me for Spare.

(Fellow readers, I’m a little surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did, but it’s probably worth the audiobook credits! If you want to read a memoir but aren’t sure if Prince Harry is quite your cup of tea check out this booklist on my shop. Don’t forget, we have an affliate relationship with Bookshop and if you buy any books from an Equal Opportunity link, we’ll be paid a commission. Thanks for visiting, peace, and go read something good!)


3 thoughts on “[REVIEW] Spare, by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex

  1. Self-important, self- indulgent, self-absorbed! Epitome of “poor me”! Jealousy and greed are vicious vices. They are not fit for royalty. Harry wants what money can’t buy, so he will strike out in revenge. Sad!


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