Book Review: Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas

Bono in Coversation with Michka Assayas

You mean you’re too busy doing things to understand who you really are.

I will say this: there’s a noise that you see on the surface, a kind of certain frenetic hyperactive person doing lots of things, with lots of interests and ideas that I’m chasing. But below that, really, at the very bottom of that, there is . . . peace. I feel, when I’m on my own, a peace that’s hard to describe, a peace that passes all understanding. Some people look really calm on the outside and serene, but deep down, they are cauldrons. They’re boiling with nervous energy. All my nervous energy’s on the outside. On the inside, there is a calm. If I’m left on my own, I’m not panicking to find those different people that you’ve described. Whoever that person is, that’s the closest to who I am.

No further comment?

“Be silent and know that I am God.” That’s a favorite line from the Scriptures. “Shut Up and Let Me Love You” would be the pop song. [laughs] It’s really what it means. If ever I needed to hear a comment, it might be that.

Today is a day of celebration, as I finally finished reading Bono in Conversation. Bono’s face has greeted me (and my three housemates) for the better part of the last five months as I read for 5-10 minutes every morning while eating breakfast.

I put off reading the book I got for Christmas because I read an somewhat condemning article of Bono and U2 in Relevant Magazine’s Ezine, hinting Bono’s passion for peace might have led him astray in his faith. I was disappointed in the band after the article, and the last thing I wanted was to be disappointed by one of my favourite artists yet again. However, with grim determination, I picked up this book, and began reading. To my joy and surprise, I found the book reaffirmed my pleasure in the band’s music, and challenging spiritually.

Michka Assayas asks Bono some difficult questions about life, faith, and just how on earth he is able to accomplish what he does, while still fronting one of the largest bands in the world. The whole point of having a journalist write the book, was so that Bono could be accountable in the process, to his own ideas and to other people. Throughout the book I found myself wondering just where I measured with this man on a mission. Well, actually, on several missions. I wondered if I would have the heart to challenge convention in front of Popes and Presidents. I wondered if I could travel to war-torn countries to see how faith was being used to spread democracy. I wondered if I was a woman whose still waters ran deep or were only maintained on the surface. And I wondered if I too could have the strength to maintain a family life, while still pressing on to better the world around me, and yet hold on to the faith that gives me strength to do it all.

I think the truest joy I had while reading the book is being confronted with a very real Christian. He is a man with a deep-rooted faith despite the deep apprehension that must come out of growing up in a violent Ireland. Occasionally he has too much too drink and swears. And I found through his words to the kind of humble and questioning soul most thinkers long to come across. And yet, he remains friends socializes with the people he grew up with.

I recommend this book to anyone who wonders where Bono stands in terms of his own faith. For those who are inspired by biographies, it is highly enjoyable, and I prefer it to many others simply because a journalist with a very good philosophical understanding asks the questions Bono must answer. He delves into faith, family, Ireland, the band’s music and members, and all the humanitarian efforts he participates in. Mostly, read it if you want to be inspired by someone who wrote music from his heart, and ended up fronting not only one of the biggest bands in history, but also some of the greatest ideas of our time.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics of my favourite U2 song Where the Streets Have no Name:

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside.
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name.

I wanna feel sunlight on my face.
I see the dust-cloud
Disappear without a trace.
I wanna take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We’re still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It’s all I can do).

The city’s a flood, and our love turns to rust.
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust.
I’ll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We’re still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It’s all I can do).

One thought on “Book Review: Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas

  1. heather, this is super cool that you've started this blog! 🙂 hope things are going well with TA-ing and with the thesis. you can do it!

Let's chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s