Dear Gossips,   

I started reading Prince Harry’s Spare last night, I’m about 70 pages in and, so far, it’s not the flaming book of dark curses that the British tabloids have made it out to be. The tone is not mean at all, at least not during the first part. The way it’s been described and obsessed over, you’d think the pages would be dripping in venom. In reality, at least during the first part, that’s not how it reads, there’s nothing mean about it at all, its temperature isn’t red, and the tone isn’t spiteful. It is, however, quite insightful – especially if you’re into the details; not necessarily the details about the drama between the royal players but the details about royal life, about what it’s like to grow up in one of the most exclusive families in the world, attend the most exclusive schools, what it’s like to take a bath at Balmoral Castle and sleep at Sandringham. The kind of details that royal historians will get off on, big time.


But my thoughts today aren’t about Prince Harry. Because reading Spare made me want to re-read Andre Agassi’s memoir, Open, which was also ghostwritten by JR Moehringer. Like Open, Spare is – from what I’ve read so far – written beautifully. Similar to Open on the intimacy of the voice, and different because, well, this is a different voice. 

Which is a fascinating skill, right? To be able to write someone else’s story “without leaving fingerprints”, as the New York Times put it. That’s what JR Moehringer has done, again, with Prince Harry. You believe that these are his words, thoughts, ideas and not the work of a ghostwriter or “collaborator”, which is what some prefer to be called. 

According to the NYT, Moehringer is known for his talent and intensity. In order to do what he does, he needs to fully immerse himself in the subject, alongside the subject, and burrow himself deeply in their lives. It also sounds like he asks the tough questions, not unlike a therapist, which is what happened when he wrote with Phil Knight who called him a “half psychiatrist”. And then, I guess, he becomes a medium in front of the keyboard, allowing the subject to tell their story through him. Now there’s a Show Your Work documentary I wish someone would make. Impossible, probably, since the whole point of these “collaborations” is for the “collaborator” to remain in the background. But I want to know so badly the process behind this particularly niche skill. 


Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned it so many times but JR’s own memoir, The Tender Bar, which George Clooney adapted into a film last year, is one of my favourite books of all time. If you haven’t already, you should read it. And you should also read Open. I’ve not read the Phil Knight memoir but I’ve added that to my list too. 

To go back to Prince Harry, he covers the new issue of PEOPLE to talk about why he wrote the book and how he’s feeling now that he has told his own story. As previously mentioned, I’ll unpack the details of the story once I get through the book and digest them in context. Spare is now available everywhere. 

Yours in gossip,