"a secret about truth that many people are unwilling to accept: it's usually painful"
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.