Spare Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Discover the global phenomenon that tells an unforgettable story of love, loss, and healing.
“Compellingly artful . . . [a] blockbuster memoir.”—The New Yorker
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.
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 39 minutes|
|Author||Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex|
|Narrator||Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex|
|Audible.ca Release Date||January 10 2023|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #5 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in English History (Books)
#1 in Politics & Government
#1 in Biographies & Memoirs (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in Canada on January 31, 2023
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Top reviews from Canada
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This quote, taken from part 2, page 170, chapter 33 really spoke to me. I noted it immediately upon reading, highlighting it, because it really spoke to the theme of this book. That truth is often wrapped with pain...that owning ones truth is often brave, hard and often misunderstood. That speaking ones truth often comes with risk, with people who will continue to read your truth and misquote you, who will cherry-pick and judge based on mistruths, often quoted as others as the gospel.
I started this book with my own opinions, and when I finished this book, I was surprised - surprised to find myself empathizing with almost every major player. Even the ones I had demonized in my own minds eye. I found myself empathizing with what it must feel like to be "owned" by an institution - owned by the public. After all, the public were paying for their very existence. What it must feel like to have to grow up, make mistakes and be judged perhaps more harshly than those of his peers. But I also experienced a level of sympathy for what generations of that family have had to undergo.
Trauma is a major theme that wraps it's tentacles around Harry - long past childhood, it ensnares him, forms his very being. I was surprised to learn many things about his feelings about Diana's passing, ones that would be understandable for any young man to feel, but are more so understandable after what he experienced on a world stage. The descriptions of his feelings are so vivid, so painfully raw, that you can't help but feel for him.
I have to give credit where credit is due - this book is exceptionally well written...this speaks to a very close partnership with Prince Harry's ghost writer, JR Moehringer. I could see Prince Harry pouring over his laptop all night long, writing all his feelings down and then JR, taking those feelings and moments and creating a more aesthetically pleasing, descriptive tome. You never feel like it isn't Prince Harry talking from his heart, but you can see where JR has been able to give such clear description, you feel like you're right there, in the battlefield with Harry - that you're walking along side him during that long walk behind his mom. I usually find biographies exceptionally boring because they feel like a history lesson, and don't speak from the heart. This isn't that type of book. You feel like you're reading from his diary, a very personal and private journey he is giving us access too. His entire life has been shown to the world, by those events were not by his choice. THIS was his choice. His truth.
I don't want to take away from this book so I will not go into specifics because I feel like you should go into this book willing to listen - remove your preconceived notions, drop your prejudice, erase from your memory the stories told by others about him and read his truth. Because if nothing else, why should someone else opinion of you be treated as truth, when their opinions are formed by the very people who have tried to destroy you.
Prince Harry takes you through his journey of drinking, going to pubs, smoking a joint, going to high school where Prince William asked Harry to pretend that they did not know each other, his relationships and going into combat. Then Prince Harry talks about meeting Meghan Markle and how their love flourished only to be ridiculed with racism and constantly having to deal with the Paparazzi and lies that were printed in the papers. He reveals how Meghan wanted to take her own life just before the couple were to attend a concert while heavily pregnant with Archie and how it became evident that if he wanted to keep his family safe and not lose his wife to the paparazzi like he did his own mother, then he needed to take his family elsewhere.
Being Royal is not an easy task or one that a person would want, especially if you were born into it. Your life is not your own to live but the British Monarch's, such as having to ask the Queen's permission to marry the one you love, to ask permission to marry with a beard because you do not want to shave it off, or to ask permission to get married in certain attire, having someone else higher up tell you what is available on the calendar for a wedding date to marry. Permission for this and permission for that. In regards to emotions, no you simply cannot cry in public if you are a Royal. Your life is the world's life. God forbid if you are seen smoking a cigarette or seen at a pub drinking. For gosh sakes, even royalty or human beings just like the rest of us and good on them for just wanting to live a life that everyone else lives that is NOT royalty.
I have to say that Prince Harry's struggles since the death of his mother were dealt with alone. I feel like there was no one there when their should have been to help him through his grief.
And as for William, well it seems Willy is all about Willy and his "Heir" status. Prince Harry mentions that Prince William hit him, pushing him to the floor after describing Harry's wife as “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”.
I do believe that Prince Harry would make a much better King than his father or William. Harry has experienced much and truly has a deep understanding of the different crisis in the world. Not just when it comes to humanity, but African Wildlife as well. When he is aware of a need, he becomes involved and supportive. He and his wife are involved in charities and at one such event, he got emotional while giving a speech for Children with Severe Illnesses because becoming a father deepened his appreciation for the charity's work in supporting sick children . Prince Harry has a dislike for deceit within the Monarchy, lies being printed in the press and his first and foremost priority is not his duty to the British Commonwealth; but his wife and two children. That is what really matters to him. Now if that is not the makings of a true King!!!
Thank you Prince Harry for allowing us to have an insight into your life as a royal and being brave enough to write what no one else has the guts to do.
Top reviews from other countries
The Prince of Hearts speaks - a raw, honest, and tender account, So heartbreaking, devastatingly shocking and sad at times, but with so much humour - it’s really hilarious and funny in places. It also is a beautiful love story and a story of hope. I was somewhat surprised by how self-reflective he has become, and really enjoyed the way describes his experiences. I was deeply touched in many places - laughed, cried, was angry, surprised, confused - all the emotions.
I loved what he says about being in Africa and in the bush, to which I can relate to so much and have experienced this strange depth (‘the world before it developed into the world’). It shows him as a lot more sensitive, philosophical and also a lot more spiritual (in between the lines and in different chapters) than I thought, and it so beautiful to see the raw, sensitive and tender part of his person come through. He comes through so relatable and down to earth. So human this story with all its ups and downs.
The book gives us a view behind the curtain of a life that some condemn for its fullness of riches. Yet it is so clearly a life ‘bred in captivity’, in a “gilded cage”, that shows money and riches are not equal to ‘real’ freedom (or love). There are squashing rules and painful consequences that come with their enjoyment. What if one is born into it unable to chose? Now he has chosen. What courage.
It was a gripping, and highly engaging story. The audiobook version that Prince Harry narrates himself, is so well read that it felt like you were experiencing the moments in real time, I couldn’t stop putting it down. The meaning and feeling of his words comes across, the heart of the story, in a powerful way when hearing his own words.
I highly recommend the book and to read it yourself or listen to the audio version first.
Before you see the atrocious and slanderous total dismantling of mere snippets of the pieces shared in the book. It is astonishing what the press has done right now with this book and its words for all to see. So much misconstrued excerpts - don’t be put off and read it yourself first. Then compare, then make up your own mind. The press has shown itself in its most poisonous light I have ever witnessed in these last few days of the publication of the book.
With that, what irony that the mission of the book of highlighting exactly that, was successful.
The main mission this book is to make us more aware of what the media is doing and how it is doing it. Most of us may already know this. But here we are right now witnessing it live - right in front of our eyes. Will we notice? Will we ‘spare’ the time to read it for ourselves, to really see?
The story of the book, highlights that this could be any of us, you, me, not just any royal or someone who happens to fall out of the press and media’s good graces or is scrutinised. (It reminds me of the book “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, where she describes a similar experience when becoming the First Lady.) For Prince Harry, it has been like this since birth.
I really wanted to make sure to read it/hear it all first, before looking at the news, but noticed how hard it is at times. Things seeped through. Even friends and colleagues in my field (of psychology) made throw-away comments based on some terribly dangerous headlines (e.g. in relation to the Taliban, when he recounts his honest experiences in the Army). It was so clearly taken out of context, which you would notice if you had read it and gotten to that part 2 of the book already. A couple of words taken out of an entire account and then an emotive word slapped onto it to make title to change its entire meaning. We don’t have time – and are all so willing to take in just disjointed bits from the media every day.
I could not believe the article published in the Guardian by journalist John Grace, only three days after the book’s publication, falsifying artistically the entire book for us. It doesn’t even mention that it is under the guise of satire, but claims at the beginning: “To busy to read it? All the love, rancour, drugs and petty fights are here.”
What follows is a confusing write-up, looking like a compilation of excerpts taken straight from the book, but you don’t quite know which part is added by the journalist and is false – that is, unless you read it for yourself! Snippets taken from the book, something else slapped on to it at the end, that wasn’t even in the book. How on earth can the Guardian get away with this? Publishing something so incorrect and defamatory? But the damage has already been done for many I suspect, who as a result roll their eyes, and don’t want to read the book. But ironically, this is the whole point that the book is trying to share. And if you read these claims, you cannot ‘unread it’. It makes you think, it can poison you and anyone who reads it without noticing. Words have power.
So here we are and have the most powerful evidence of what this book is actually about.
The most ironic thing in itself is happening for us to see in bright daylight under our noses. The power of the media – and so much falseness and untruths which we read about every single day. The mainstream press and media, most of us even ‘trust’.
This book is not just about Prince Harry or setting his record straight, or share stories of his family, though this is the tool of the book. It seems to be about something so much bigger than that.
What is of course fascinating as part of the story and in this whole unfolding drama is that we can all resonate personally so much with the family dynamics and the family story in so many ways (no matter what backgrounds we come from).
All the family archetypes - all the roles we play in our families and the roles we feel trapped in or are assigned to hold, are represented in this book. May it range from the ‘golden child’, ‘black sheep’, ‘baby brother’, ‘big brother’, ‘rival brother’,’longed for sister’, ‘wicked stepmother’, ‘loving mother’, ‘absent father’, ‘the newcomer’, ‘the wicked daughter-in-law’, or so many other classics. These archetypes all represent our collective experience of family. We may recognise all these roles here in the book represented in some form or other. And this can really connect us to the family story in general, through our own lived experiences.
But most of us will find it extremely hard to ever exit our assigned roles, or our family itself, however troubled and dysfunctional it is. It must be a hundred times harder for a member of a royal family who is controlled by and locked into ‘the Institution’ by blood.
Harry has attempted the unthinkable and unspeakable, and in front of everyone to see. Good for him - and also how embarrassing… for ‘the Institution’.
This may be the true core ‘danger’ of the book - for the media and press as well as the ‘Institution’ and the monarchy. It is clear with this book they were not successful at silencing him enough. The day before the launch, Prince Harry aptly comments in the ITV interview with Tom Bradby that “silence only allows the abuser to continue to abuse”. He also said “peace can only happen where there is truth”. This is an apt explanation of the purpose of this book, and it comes across in every chapter.
It is bigger than just the story about Prince Harry because the book raises so many questions (and esp. with this vicious media and press reaction): How can we possibly discern right from wrong? And what role, what power does the media play out in this? One thing is for sure, you don’t want to be on the bad side of them.
Prince Harry is standing up, speaking out and speaking his truth, which most of us are not courageous and brave enough to do at this level.
If you check each, his words in the book account and the current media messages, it is like witnessing a modern crucifixion.
We are watching it and it raises even deeper questions like: Would I speak out like this? How has the power completely shifted to controlled media? What means “freedom” and freedom of speech?
The book raises in fact many questions on deeper issues about privacy, freedom of speech, human rights, but also unwittingly and indirectly - but to no surprise may question the entire existence of the monarchy. Of the validity and usefulness of an antiquated, backwards “Institution” behind the Monarchy itself - far too powerful for its own family members. Is it really still necessary to exist in this day and age? Many current members would of course not want to see it dismantled and as a result lose their existence. The war on Harry and any dissidents has to happen by default (as we are witness to) - to ensure its own survival. And since there is the existing long standing enmeshed relationship between the media and the Institution (“in bed with the Devil”- comment from the ITV interview, but not so direct in the book), both depend on each other for their survival. The book describes how – some of it in the subtext and in between the lines, but it also becomes clear in the story.
If “it” (the Institution) wants to survive, it raises also the question if it could not show us a better example, be more of a role model? It doesn’t have to be this way – one or the other can only exist. Esp. in matters of the heart, family, unity, truthfulness, rather than the outdated stuffy rules, and power driven dynamics based on power and not losing face or pride? (But this will probably never happen.)
In this book, the evoking of the deeper questions is done skilfully through the story of the heart, Prince Harry’s own story of his experiences and words. As such through metaphor it is a powerful tool to reach us deeper, to shake us up, especially with laughter and humour along the way that makes the reading (or listening) gripping, enjoyable and deeply engaging.
With this book, Prince Harry shows tremendous bravery and courage and he could be applauded for daring this. And I can’t help but fear for him at the same time. This must be the toughest times of their lives right now, and I really wish them all the safety, love and protection they need around this time of transition “post-book”.
I really hope that with this book he is able to achieve what he is hoping for.
For one, to make an in-road for all of us to hold world-wide and British Press and media, its coverage and its employees more accountable for the suffering they cause to so many people every day.
Because of this it is a must read / or listen to.
It seems clear on more than the obvious level, that he is Diana’s son. How incredibly proud she must be - that he managed to ‘get out’. Though it is a hard road. If feels as though he is continuing the work that his mother had started. She still lives in so many peoples’ hearts across the globe and was able to touch so many – and even so many decades after. And with Prince Harry in his own right as Harry, what he is actually daring to do here is shining his own light, not being ashamed to have a voice and speaking and owning his truth - and with that leading by example.
Not to be silenced. But good grief, we can see here in the book and the after effects, what a mammoth and difficult task it is and it comes with so much pain and consequences for him.
My heart goes out to him and Meghan. And any other family member, I feel so much compassion for them. At the state of everything in our world right now. But there is also so much gratitude, love, joy and light in this book, peppered with tender mischievous humour which was so uplifting and able to create space for hope.
Hope for change.
BUT, this piece took my breath away. I read it in one night and went through so many emotions. I had to put it down multiple times to laugh, cry, and self reflect. Well-done to Harry taking the hard step to be vulnerable to the world in his own way and taking control of his narrative and his writer is absolutely so talented. The writer is so magnificent, I cannot say it enough.
This book is going to be analyzed in classrooms, positively, negatively, analytically one day as it touches on coming-of age, literature and motifs, the most recent war, and a love story and a social and political discourse on British press and its relationship with the Palace. People are going to be talking about this book for ages and as Meghan and Harry seem to be really polarizing to some. I recommend anyone supporter or not, British or American, read this book first and form your own opinions. Clear your mind of the bias from what you know of Harry from the press and media and read it about a story of a boy growing into a man. It’s really quite good when you look past you’re own biases.
Harry’s really grown when it comes to his own biases and privilege and this book really explores that growth in a first person POV that also causes to reader to take a step back and evaluate themselves but I do think he needs to sit on his support of a Monarchy a bit more lol…it was nice as an American to understand British culture a bit more though and I feel like I was able to put myself in the other Royals shoes and humanize them as well! Since Meghan and Harry are the only ones who we’ve been able to authentically hear from as of late.
I know a lot of people will speak on his chapters of his experiences in the war negatively, and to be honest. I wasn’t expecting that kind of candor and rawness and it resonated with me but in a introspectively beneficial way..as someone who is currently in the neo-stage of their military officer career (I only joined because I wanted to be a leader and get college paid but I’ve been more introspective on leadership and military more lately) I had to take military history classes when I was in college, I read many textbooks and memories who recount experiences similar to his from the civil war, Vietnam and WW1/2 perspective and we analyzed them relentlessly…but I haven’t seen a lot of memoirs from veterans from the War on Terror or from non-Americans. With the peacetime the U.S. is in I guess I doubt I’ll be serving long enough to ever experience the trauma he went through and it helps me understand the PTSD of modern soldiers and those veteran NCOs I work with. That section made me really introspective about the military and the way we’re trained and the discourse around the ethics of it even though his military experience is from a different country. (Side note this really helped me realize how important OPSEC is lol I literally screamed OPSEC at the book at one point).
I enjoy the way he recounted his childhood and his relationship with his family. It was very tactful and well-written and I think every comment that a tabloid has pulled as “offensive” out of context was balanced out throughout the book as we really delved into the nuances of family and our childhoods. The people he mentions in this book are not just characters and celebrities in a show or tabloid but real people who are multifaceted and there is no antagonist and protagonist in real life.
He also kept it spicy with the funny TMI moments about his social life and ~extracurricular~ activities. The random celebrity name drops were hilarious to me with his sarcastic tone and obviously not ill-mannered or narcissistic as I saw some implied. I think that was the perfect amount of comedy and tiny factoids that are ultimately harmless and affect no one except entertain the reader. I’m a very TMI person and the way he exposed embarrassing moments is the way I talk to my inner circle of friends and I felt like I was listening to a friend tell me a story on girls night. I saw on Twitter people were offended by the TMI but let’s be honest, if he hadn’t left in the spicy/funny comments people would have just said his memoir is boring and a waste of money and money-seeking. I’m sure there are plenty of other TMI details of his life that are private and he did not share. Everything he shared that people called “TMI” is inconsequential to the audience and only there to entertain comedic relief amongst the other dark themes in this book. This probably went through hella reviews and many consultations to make sure it wasn’t too out there.
I could ramble forever about this book…I wanna join like a book club or reddit to discuss it. This is truly one of my favorite reads in like the last ten years. I may have separate opinions about the Harry v. the Monarchy discourse but I just want to endorse the book is SUCH a good read anyways for those on edge.