Let me tell you, I'd call myself a pretty solid U2 fan and a considerable admirer of Bono, but this book Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 was just over the top. I learned a few things, but not much. Quite frankly, with a bit of research and maybe a trip to Dublin for a few interviews around the band's old stomping grounds, and I could have written this book just based on album covers and lyrics.
I'm not really opposing much that the book said. Yeah, I agree that the church has many times dropped the ball on social justice and I think Bono could be considered to have a "prophetic" role in that regard. Yeah, their lyrics and music are spiritually compelling. Yes I have been frequently impressed by their live performances and their more recent expressions of faith. I am incredibly impressed by Bono's clout in global concerns. I anticipate each album. I would even say that I enjoy finding honest and even faith-driven lyrics that I can connect with.
But this book just takes all that and basically makes a cult out of it. Even as a Bono/U2 fan it made me want to puke. It was just so much fluff and flattery. I felt like it was a defense of the guy in court. I guess Christians have been somewhat critical of U2 in the past, but honestly, does it warrant an all out propaganda pamphlet for Bono's sainthood? This thing was dripping with it. At the end I was skimming just to get through it and see if there was anything I didn't already know. It didn't even talk about the Super Bowl halftime show, one of U2's, and America's, finest moments.
To be fair, this book was fairly interesting. But I don't think a critic of U2 would be convinced by it, nor will a fan of U2 really be all that enlightened by it. Probably the only person who might benefit from this book will be the casual observer who doesn't mind the sap. There are some good messages here, mainly from Bono himself. Stockman 's soapbox issues weren't bad, but they got to be a bit much. It is a tribute to Bono that he emerges from this book with some respectability intact despite the rancourous praises being sent his way. I am more impressed that Bono apparently declined to participate in the making of this book than I am with anything that I was supposed to have learned within it.
So let me reiterate: I still like U2 and admire Bono. But this book ironically puts Bono on the very pedestal he has so wisely resisted his whole life. I'm all for bringing down the line between so-called "secular" and "sacred", but does that mean that everything has to be just awesome? Even with the respect I have for Bono, as I read this book I was longing for something bad to be sad about him, just to remind me that the author knew he wasn't God!
I give this book 1 star out of 5, what a lot of bubbles and butterflies. (I must apologize to Relevant Books, who published this book, as they have been kind enough to be the first people to also publish me! To be fair, I think it was a decent idea, and they do publish some quality stuff I think)