One Step Closer (book)

This is a review of the book One Step Closer: Why U2 matters to those seeking God by Christian Scharen.

Yet another in the long line of religious books about U2. At some point you have to ask yourself if there is a point in you writing a book about U2 and their religion. But if you go down that road, then you have to ask yourself why you’re writing a daily blog about U2, and we don’t want anyone asking that.

But the point is that if you do write something, you have to write it with a hook. There really needs to be something to distinguish your book from all the others, to make people pick it off the shelf in the bookstore rather than any of those others. And of course when I say bookshelf I mean the screen looking at amazon.com, because there are no bookstores anymore, sadly enough. Hmm, seems like today is a day for digressing.

In previous reviews I’ve even made the point that a book needs to stand out, that if it doesn’t then it’s going to go nowhere. And that’s what I think about One Step Closer, that it follows the same patterns as the other books, picks out many of the same themes (hey, did you know that 40 comes straight from Psalm 40?), and frankly is as interchangeable as many of the others. Now I’m sure the author of this book, and all the others like it, write from the heart, write what they think, and write what they know about U2 and religion. But for the core fan of the band, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. And if I want to hear something over and over, I’m not going to read these books, I’m going to put on some U2 and put it on repeat.

I really don’t want to be this harsh with the author of this book, or any of the others. I just don’t see the point of someone writing the same as so many others (not looking in a mirror here). If I could find that book that has a unique hook, I’d love it, just for being different. I got that most with the Walk On book, which focused on U2 and surrounded them with religion, compared to the other books that focus on the religion and tack on U2. But reading what I just wrote, maybe that’s the whole point: I’m interested in U2, the religion part is a sidelight. The books I don’t like are interested in religion, U2 is the sidelight. Have you ever noticed how every single one of these books is written by a pastor or some other sort of religious figure. I suppose that makes sense, because they’re writing about religion.

By the way a month ago I reviewed the song of the same name and gave it a 2 out of 10. I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence to see the score on this one.

My rating for One Step Closer (book) : 2 / 10