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 Royalty Biographies (Books)
#1 in Great Britain History
#1 in Politics & Government
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
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.