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Prince Harry’s Spare

I don’t have the book. Neither do the bookshops in Bangladesh. Amazon does not deliver to Bangladesh either. So, I will get it sooner that’s not going to happen. I have to wait, at least till the time the book leans back in most of the Nilkhet bookshops. But first the book has to find its way to Bangladesh either in body or in spirit. I mean either hard copy or soft copy. Nilkhet will manage to get its copy as it always does. Just one copy and its procession of simulacra will soar up. I rarely buy original print of any English books, thanks to Friends Book Corner (FBC). FBC showed us the way and we followed. I graduated with major in English Literature and never bought a single original copy of any text. I sound proud but I am not. Sometimes I do buy original one though. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker is the last of its kind in my bookshelf which I had to buy original finding no other way. No copy version was in the horizon.

The original books take time to reach out Bangladesh. Sometimes they never make it. I ploughed through all the major bookshops in Dhaka to get Walter Tevis’s The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix subscription is easier to avail but not the book. I must be the only one asking the bookshops for the Queen’s Gambit. I failed to source their pity on me. They export books considering the reader’s demand. Why should they consider the demand of a single reader? Amazon would have done this. But as I lamented earlier, amazon delivers in India but not to Bangladesh. I might have to wander through the same path to lay my hand on a copy of Spare.

Spare was released on 10 January 2023. The night is still very young. I have to wait for the night to turn into an adult before I leaf through Spare. It’s not that I am dying to read it. But the buzzes and humming the book has rippled didn’t spare my gossip mongering mind to crave for it. So, I browsed through the internet and read different articles on Spare to sprinkle water on my craving mind. I thought to patch together the comments, remarks, praises, suggestions, reviews, lamentations, criticisms, cynicisms and what not to form a self-consolatory vibe that now I know what and how people are talking about Spare and its author. What follows in the coming paragraphs is a shameless patchwork of copy and paste.

Spare is a memoir written by Prince Harry. Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, is a husband, father, humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate, and environmentalist. He resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his family and three dogs. There is a dedicated website (https://princeharrymemoir.com/) for this book. The website says: “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.” The quoted texts end here. Long quotation I must say.

 BBC writes, “The ghost-written work is a fast-paced, quickfire account, looking out from the inside, always scratchily aware of the bodyguards outside the door and the cameras waiting to catch him. As a schoolboy, smoking cannabis with his friends, he watches the police outside there to guard him.”

BBC also comments, “The weirdest book ever written by a royal. Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, is part confession, part rant and part love letter. In places it feels like the longest angry drunk text ever sent. It’s the view from inside what he calls a “surreal fishbowl” and “unending Truman Show”. He describes his lonely life at home, self-medicating with psychedelic drugs, drying his clothes on a radiator and planning shopping trips like military raids, to be carried out in disguise and at speed.”

Some comments and discussion threads patched together from goodreads.com –

“Is the ghost writer up for a fiction prize for this? Serious question.”

“Why would this be considered fiction? So much of what Harry has “disclosed” is well known to people who have truly followed royalty. Biographies written years ago noted that Harry was being castigated for, say, drinking, when William was drinking as much, that William had encouraged Harry to wear the Nazi uniform, that Charles had hired someone to shine Camilla’s image and that they had, for instance, leaked and contrived the boy’s responses to meeting her for the first time. The only things I found new were his own emotional journey – his having believed his mother was hiding from them for years after her death, his agoraphobia, etc. I am having trouble understanding the “it’s fiction” jabs and the gasps at what he’s revealed. Most of it was reported years ago.”

“30 pages in and it’s heart breaking. 100 pages in and it’s raw. The most you read, the more you can’t put it down. Harry shows the world with his book that he’s taking ownership of his story, in his own words. He comes off incredibly down to earth, accepting his faults, and humbling himself in a way unseen from a royal. I’d have a beer with him.”

“Harry is neither intelligent nor unintelligent. He would not be out of place at the local pub. He is, in all honesty, just Some Guy who happens to be royal, and sadly, it does not make him interesting. If anything, it makes what appears to be a shocking lack of outside-himself thinking to be all the worse. If this book had some direction or message, if it had focused more on service and personal experiences unique to a Royal, it would have been a riveting read. As it stands, it reads more like an ever-changing stream of consciousness and whatever message (beyond “fuck the media”) it held has been lost. It is little better than Prince Andrew’s infamous interview, given the continued air of superiority (something the subject himself likely does not realize) and the lack of tangible explanation.”

The Guardian writes-

“The book’s title comes from an old saying in royal and aristocratic circles: that a first son is an heir to titles, power and fortune, and a second is therefore a spare, should anything happen to the first-born. Spare is a remarkable volume, in which the altercation between the two princes forms a startling passage.”

Patchwork ends.

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