First things first-I have been a U2 fan since 1988 and high school. Let me get that out of the way.
I am well aware that Paul Hewson-AKA Bono can be seen as overbearing.
I don’t care.
I admire his voice, guts, and I am envious of the band he leads. The lightening in a bottle that teenage friends would meet, get together, then proceed to spend the rest of their life together selling millions of albums and putting together some of the largest grossing tours in history.
That is a story to tell.
What makes me respect Bono even more is to very quickly realize he wrote this. There is no ghostwriter here. There is no Bono, with John Smith. It’s just Bono..
He can write.
He can tell a story.
And on the audio book he is an actor as well, as he imitates famous people, in particular Presidents Clinton, Obama, and Bush.
He has skills.
For U2 fans I recommend the audio book simply because of the new acustic versions of the forty different songs he uses for. I think an album of these redone versions would be something for U2 to consider releasing.
The memoir itself is not written in chronological order. At first that threw me, but as it went along his organization of the material worked. The opening chapter describes his emergency heart surgary he had a few years ago. There is something different about his heart and it almost killed him a few years ago. A little tidbit, that was not leakeed to the media when it happened.
He then explores how the death of his mother was the foundational event in his life. His mother never saw him perform music professionally. She saw a school event he performed at and then she was gone.
For music and U2 fans the book is nothing but a treasure trove of tidbits about the band.
Bono’s faith is a main part of who he is, and you learn a lot about it here. But for me the mosting parts of the book are the historical tibbits of the band bring depth to their history.
For example, The Edge quit the band just after the release of their second album, October due his well-known religious convictions, but it took the non-believing manager Paul McGuiness to convince Edge that God didn’t want him to break an oath to continue touring for the October album. The atheist saved the band comprised of three Christians.
There is the heart breaking story of Adam missing a gig in Sydney, due to drugs and alcohol. Bono handles the story with grace and empathy. I had always know that Adam missed a gig on the Zoo Tour, I just had no clue it was for the recording that was first used a s a pay per view and later as a DVD Live at Syndey, which I watch a few times year. I never knew of the stress behind the scenes.
Another story that got to me was as Edge was dealing with the divorce from his first wife, he used the pain of the situation in the recording of Love is Blindness. The shredding guitar in the song was Edge letting the pain and hurt coming out. As someone who has gone through a divorce, I now here that song very differently. I’ve been listening to the song for over 30 years. Now with this insight, the song is brand new to me again.
And that is the gift of Bono’s words.
All of these songs we know so well, become new again