Picks and Pans Review: Bono

updated 04/25/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/25/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

in conversation with Michka Assayas

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It's now official: Bono has an answer for everything. Or at least that's how it seems in this 323-page question-and-answer interview with French journalist Michka Assayas. The 44-year-old Irish singer with the gift of blab holds forth on topics ranging from his role as lead singer of the world's most popular rock band and the power of celebrity to Third World debt relief, the IRA and the Scriptures. "I'm a scribbling, cigar-smoking, wine-drinking, Bible-reading band man" is just one of Bono's self-descriptions. In this comprehensive look behind his designer blue sunglasses, the musician formerly known as Paul Hewson is also revealed as a committed Christian with a cause on almost every continent and a wit as quick as a switchblade.

Assayas is clearly a fan, maybe too much of one, but he pushes his subject to answer tough questions, particularly about his difficult relationship with his father and the death of his mother when he was 14. Bono also recounts meetings with global big shots including the late Pope John Paul II, who tried on his sunglasses. "Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine," Bono recalls with glee.

Though it could have been pared down, this book will be appreciated by U2 devotees. And even non-fans will find inspiration in Bono's passion for living.

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