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Books & Mortar Book Review:
If you've ever dreamed of sweeping a prince off of his feet, this book should squash that fantasy for good. Prince Harry's memoir, which became the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time, is a personal account of what it's actually like to be royally famous. Spare was written by one of the best ghostwriters in the biz in snippets of Prince Harry's recollection — but that is, after all, the way memory works — and in three acts: his painful childhood, his military service, and his star-crossed romance.
Ultimately, his mission is to explain why he left.
No doubt Prince Harry was born with privilege, but not in all of the ways I've always assumed, and with very little entitlement for someone with a literal title. After hundreds of years and millions of clichés, the royal family still doesn't quite know what to do with their second sons — their spares. However, the reader is reminded, he seems constantly able to fly to one of the most expensive and sought-after parts of Africa — the Okavango Delta in Botswana — to visit friends, float upriver and get drunk with the lads, "find" and "refind" himself, to take Chelsy Davy on a first date, to take Meghan Markle on a third date, or just to gaze at the real life stars. Our kindred feelings about Africa and my jealousy aside, part of Prince Harry's globe-trotting also seems to be because of his inherited disadvantage. He is always being hunted, and therefore, he is always running away.
It looks to me like he was always going to leave.
My favorite act of this book is the second: A genuine glimpse into what it's like to be in the military, which is an experience that so many of our friends, and parents, and grandfathers, and great-grandfathers had and then never talked about. The very human reality of coming home to a place that doesn't feel like reality anymore...
Still, I think most of Spare — and especially the third act — is better at the necessary evil of uprooting the common tabloid gossip that passes itself off as journalism in Britain than at laying down a narrative of its own. -