Behind a bar, an older woman lost her virginity. Cocaine use is prevalent. Many Americans had to look up the word “todger” to know what it meant. These are just a few of the things that Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” talks about.
It came out earlier this month and has already sold millions of copies and broken many records, including being the fastest-selling nonfiction book in the UK since they started keeping track of such things.
Many readers and critics were shocked, disappointed, and even angry that Harry’s book went so far and told so much. One of the first headlines about the book on ET said, “Prince Harry‘s Memoir Makes People Feel Betrayal.”
The article was about Harry’s family, but it could have been about readers who didn’t like learning so much about a prince they had put on a pedestal. One person who read Harry’s book said it was a “premium mess.”
Another Twitter user said that the Duke of Sussex should be “ashamed of himself,” which was a widely shared opinion. According to The Guardian, one woman said, “The monarchy is becoming a joke.”
People were interested in Harry’s life, but what about his experiences with magic mushrooms and thinking a toilet was talking to him? Maybe that was too much. No matter what, Harry’s stories are the ones to tell. Even more important, no one else can tell them if he doesn’t do it first.
Fox News says that “Spare” talks about Harry’s penis more than 15 times. But at least some of these references are meant to contradict what other people have said, such as information about his and his brother Prince William’s bodies. In his book, Harry says, “Every story was a lie.”
Harry has spent his whole life in the harsh light of the media. When a royal baby is born, he or she is paraded in front of cameras at the hospital, and dealing with the press has been a big part of his life, from his or her mother’s death to the racist treatment his or wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, got and still gets from British tabloids.
Harry deals with the press with care and skill. He knows enough about the media and has been trained to know what to do because of it. And if he breaks a story, as “Spare” did about a person who got frostbite, no other news outlet can say they did it first.
Only he (and the charities he supposedly will give the money from the book to) can make money from his story. The royal family is the only one who doesn’t fit into that group.
The Telegraph says that Harry’s book doesn’t seem to leave anything out, but he says there is more, enough for a possible second memoir.
People don’t talk about things like drug use and sex that could be embarrassing. And out of reach of his family. We can be ruled by what we keep to ourselves.
In the wrong hands, they can be used as a weapon, and the fear that they will get out or be found out can keep someone in line just as well as an electric fence.
Blackmail is a form of abuse in which someone or a group uses the threat of telling someone else something to get them to do what they want. I’ll tell you if you don’t do what I want.
It’s a common way for groups like Scientology and NXIVM to force people to do what they want. In this case, women in a subgroup of the organization were forced to hand over personal secrets and naked photos as collateral.
People often stay in these groups out of fear, like the fear of having private information leaked. What makes a group a cult? The most common definition is a group of people who are loyal to a leader or believe in the same thing. This doesn’t sound too different from the royal family, does it?
Harry and Meghan will stop being official royals in January 2020, and they have no plans to come back. Every media appearance they plan, from “Harry & Meghan,” the slick Netflix docuseries about their lives, to “Spare,” is both a step closer and another secret (or five, or 15) out of the royal family’s hands. It’s powerful to tell your story, but it’s even more powerful to be the one who tells it.
The same thing is done by memoirs. They tell an author’s story, maybe not the whole story (unless it’s an autobiography), but the parts that the author thinks are important enough to write down or say out loud.
There is a whole subgenre of memoirs called “misery memoirs,” which tell especially hard or traumatic stories. Memoirs have flaws, just like memories do, but they are a type of record written by someone who was there.
Harry decided to tell the story himself. We can choose whether or not to read it. But what’s more important is that he was the first to talk about many of his own experiences.
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