Opinion

OPINION | GARY SMITH: Why read Prince Harry’s book? The dysfunction he describes doesn’t sound all that different than what a lot of families face

Not buying what Prince Harry has to say

This is the time of year and the sort of weather that has a lot of us updating our reading lists. Or just pulling the blankets back over our heads because it's cold and we don't want to get up. However, since we sort of have to, well, reading is a good excuse for staying inside and letting nature take its course as far as the snow in the driveway is concerned.

I mean, eventually it's going to melt, right?

Most people build out a reading list by, oh, I don't know, making a list of books they want to read. I mean, that seems, if not the best way, at least a very good one. And that's usually what I do, except that I tend to make a list of books that I want to read because they'd be "good" for me, and then completely ignore it in favor of spy novels set in Cold War Europe.

Yeah, I know. Not exactly "War and Peace." But then, I'm not sure even Tolstoy finished "War and Peace." You can't really call it a reading list if it consists of one book you'll never get through.

I'm doing things a little differently this year. While I haven't exactly nailed down all the books I want to read this year but probably won't, I'm calling out one I don't want to read so I won't. Which is an odd way to do business, but then again, it's my reading list and I can act like a petulant child if I want. And typically do.

This year I'm not going to "Spare" any time for a certain book. None of my "Spare" change will be spent on it. I won't "Spare" it a thought. It will "Spare-ly" cross my mind. OK, too far with that last one. But you get the point.

I'm not going to read "Spare," written by Prince (he's still a prince, right?) Harry.

Apparently I may be one of the only ones who won't be buying Harry's book. For those who only "Spare-ingly" (guess there was one more left) keep up with things like conflict in the British royal family or celebrity gossip (often one and the same thing), "Spare" is taking the literary world and the world in general by storm (or "tempest in a teapot") with its details of the alleged treatment he and his wife received at the hands of his family.

Now, beyond the fact that many of the events of Harry's childhood were quite tragic and their impacts, along with his courage, dedication to country and his personal challenges, should be acknowledged and honored, a lot of what he apparently writes about seems to be what makes up most family drama. Particularly when most of your family is a bunch of stuffy old British people. Which is, apparently the very definition of a monarchy.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the drama in which he and his wife are embroiled has risen to the level where he has been asked and/or has decided to step away from his royal duties. Which seem to consist of smiling and waving funny.

I mean, to get kicked out of my family you had to do something serious like go to the University of Texas or become a Methodist. Other than that we sort of adopted the theory that whoever the current transgressor was, he or she was "the one" every family has. As in "every family has one." And being "the one" was something of a moving trophy.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest all of us get to get mad at our families, and vice versa. I'm also going to suggest that, while most folks love a good family drama, as long as they're not the subject, "Spare" probably has a market.

And there do appear to be some serious issues having to do with the treatment of his wife that, since they involve the living symbol of the nation, need to be dealt with fairly swiftly.

But rather than read his book, I would hope he follows the general timeline of a great many Southern families. Namely, get mad, holler and scream at each other, refuse to speak to each other for an extended period of time and then hug it out when someone dies.

It's worked for years around here. And we don't even need a book.