Meghan Markle's 107-second 'The Bench' audiobook flops, $15 price slashed by half post-release

Meghan Markle's children's audiobook proved to be so unpopular that its price was slashed in half within hours of its release

                            Meghan Markle's 107-second 'The Bench' audiobook flops, $15 price slashed by half post-release
Meghan Markle visits Nottingham for her first official public engagement with fiancee Prince Harry on December 1, 2017 in Nottingham, England (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan Markle has been slammed for the over-the-top pricing of her children's audiobook 'The Bench.' The $15 audiobook proved to be so unpopular that its price was slashed in half within hours of its release. 

With a runtime of 1 minute and 47 seconds or 107 seconds, the children’s audiobook was so expensively priced when it was released that Express pointed out that listeners were paying 8 cents per word. It definitely made the list for one of the most expensive audiobooks on Amazon.

The audiobook highlights families of different skin colors and backgrounds, from a light-skinned soldier returning home to a dark-skinned man in dreadlocks, representing Meghan's own inter-racial family structure. The picture book version of 'The Bench' has the text, which is in rhymes, illustrated by watercolors by bestselling Californian artist Christian Robinson. The publisher, Random House, says the book is a portrait of “the special relationships between fathers and sons, through a mother’s eyes.”


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Negative reviews

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex lay ferns and a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the newly unveiled UK war memorial and Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, on October 28, 2018, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Rosa Woods - Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan Markle has been so harshly criticized for the price of the book because most reviewers are calling it an amateurish effort on part of the Duchess of Sussex. In The Telegraph, Claire Allfree wrote: “One wonders how any publisher could have thought fit to publish this grammar-defying set of badly rhyming cod homilies, let alone think any child anywhere would want to read it.” Allfree went on to say: “But that’s planet Sussex for you, where even the business of raising a family is all about the brand.”

She cringed at what she saw as Meghan's emasculation of Harry in her book. “Poor Harry’s role in this marriage is to sit on his bench holding the baby while Meghan gets on and conquers the world, one act of compassion at a time,” she wrote.

She added, "The Bench, published worldwide today and apparently based on a poem Meghan wrote for Harry on Father’s Day, is presented as a story for children. But it’s nothing of the sort, not least since it’s not a story. Rather it’s a series of imperatives disguised as loving verse in which Meghan offers words of wisdom to Harry (represented throughout as a sort of racially inclusive, everyman paternal figure) and by implication to the rest of us, on how to handle the tricky business of loving a child." She gave it one star out of five.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex talks with students during a visit to Tupou College in Tonga on October 26, 2018 (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images)

The Times' Alex Connell described it as a "self-help manual for needy parents," adding: "The story [is] so lacking in action and jeopardy you half wonder if the writing job was delegated to a piece of furniture..." 

'Vanity project'

Other critics of Meghan and Harry have similarly mocked her book and branded it a “vanity project," according to Daily Mail. Another trashed it as a book meant for the "semi-literate.”

The outlet also spoke to people in the United Kingdom about Meghan's literary endeavor. One passerby in Newcastle said Meghan's "trying to make a name for herself any way she can.” Another added: "The illustrations aren't good enough. Especially when there are so few words."

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