Compellingly artful .. Another spectral figure haunting the text of Spare—that of Harry’s ghostwriter, J. R. Moehringer. Harry, or his publishing house...could not have chosen better ... Moehringer has what is usually called a novelist’s eye for detail, effectively deployed in Spare ... Moehringer has fashioned the Duke of Sussex’s life story into a tight three-act drama ... Spare is worth reading not just for its headline-generating details but also for its narrative force, its voice, and its sometimes surprising wit ... There is a certain amount of score-settling and record-straightening, which, though obviously important to the author, can be wearying to a reader ... Above all, Spare is worth reading for its potential historical import, which is likely to resonate, if not to the crack of doom, then well into the reign of King Charles III, and even into that of his successor.
I expected to enjoy Spare, given that it was written with the help of the talented author J.R. Moehringer ... And I did. In parts ... Like its author, Spare is all over the map — emotionally as well as physically. He does not, in other words, keep it tight ... The prince claims to have a spotty memory...but doesn’t appear to have forgotten a single line ever printed about him and his wife, and the last section of his tell-all degenerates into a tiresome back-and-forth about who’s leaking what and why.
At its best, the prince’s memoir reads like one of those popular late-1990s novels about British singletons blundering their way out of solipsistic immaturity into self-awareness and true love ... To be clear, my idea of the best parts of Spare is unlikely to coincide with the notions of most of the book’s readers ... To my surprise, the first half of Spare turns out to be a fascinating literary venture. This is surely all down to Harry’s collaborator, J.R. Moehringer ... It’s impossible to read Spare without thinking, multiple times per page, of the intensive interviews that produced it, of how Moehringer must have pressed Harry to recall the sensual minutiae that make Spare feel so intimate ... Men like Harry, who have the opposite of a writer’s temperament and tastes, and who perhaps bullied writerly kids at school, usually show up as antagonists in literary fiction and memoir. Moehringer, on the other hand, needs to make this alien creature endearing ... And Moehringer largely succeeds at his mission ... Spare becomes more Harry’s book than Moehringer’s and in the process loses the sweetness and generosity that suffuse its first half. The writing also becomes notably more pedestrian. It left me wishing Moehringer would write a novel about a man much like Harry, a simple man in an impossible situation, seeking a meaningful place for himself in the world.