A day-by-day history of U2, now in its second edition.

Finally, a Negative Review

By on December 13, 2008 in Reviews & Feedback with 8 Comments

I knew it would happen eventually. After all the positive reviews, one critic came out swinging the other way.

A guy named Robert Holman pretty much ripped the book apart in the Toledo Free Press newspaper. The whole review is too long to quote here, and I don’t understand some of the criticisms. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Part of me would like to go line-by-line through the review and challenge/refute the stuff I don’t understand or agree with, but that would be petty. :) Everyone’s allowed an opinion … it’s okay to not like the book … and this guy happens to get paid to share his opinions. Life goes on, and I’m sure there’ll be other critics who don’t like the book. Most important thing to me is what you, my fellow U2 fans, think about it.

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There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Brandon says:

    It must sting to read a negative review of something you’ve worked so hard on, but you should take as a compliment Holman’s idea that some people will be compelled by your book to go out and buy some U2 cds. He also concedes that your book may get some people to “appreciate a song they never cared for before.” That would be pretty special. So, take his squabbles about design with a grain of salt, and hopefully the sting will wear off in a day or two. Cheers.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    been a huge u2 fan and i loved your book and learned many things even though i thought i’ve heard it all / read it all before. i’ll never understand why people write such negative reviews on something that someone put so much time, heart, passion and energy on. i’m grateful to you and the work you’ve done in the u2 diary… thank you.

  3. Nigel says:

    “The intros are strong enough to spoil the whole chapter, which could reduce the book to about 15 minutes of entertainment.”

    The book may only appeal to people who like U2. Therefore, I would expect these fans wouldn’t be worried over spoilers

    “Oh no! Don’t tell me that Adam Clayton missed a gig during Zoo TV in Sydney! Oh no! Book spoilt!’

    Bloody hell, it isn’t Lord of the Rings!

    Keep up the good work Matt, I’m enjoying the book and I want to see an update in the future!

  4. Cristiano says:

    Actually, I don’t think it was that negative. More like constructive criticism. He does make a point about the lack of pictures (but maybe just because the ones that are in the book make you want to see more of them). Everything else must look like problems to anyone who isn’t a hardcore U2 fan… but then again, the book was written for the hardcore fans, so I guess it doesn’t matter. I got the book about three days ago, and I just can’t put it down. Great job, Matt, your book is up there with Flanagan’s bible and U2: Live! I hope you’ll get the chance to update it!

    Oh, and about the Maradona mistake… I suppose it isn’t much of a problem to most people, but it stuck like a sore thumb to me (but then again, I’m brazilian, and brazlians HATE to be confused with argentinians, and vice-versa)… :)

  5. John Stark, Helsinki, Finland says:

    I agree with Cristiano – I don’t find the review that negative at all. In comparison to the previous positive ones, yes, but not THAT shredding. It is clear that the basic choice of layouting U2’s story in the diary format doesn’t appeal to him, and he doesn’t seem to like that there is so much information. Additionally, he seems to think the writer is too biased :) I work at the Finnish National Broadcasting Company YLE (a public service broadcaster) here in Finland, and if something, I’ve learned many years ago that there is no thing called objectivity in this world. I do find that your style of writing, Matt, is in every way of good taste and choice, and not worshipping, so kudos to you.

    He does lift several things up in a positive light also, so, all in all, you should continue to be proud of your work. I’m certainly proud of any possible chance to assist you again, if the book will be updated, and if the band visits Finland again.

  6. Sean says:

    I read the review and found it negative! But, I agree with Cristiano. It was made for hardcore U2 fans, and i even remember Dad telling me that it was going to be made with hardcore U2 fans in mind. Apparently, Holman isn’t a hardcore U2 fan. (Shame on him just kidding!)

  7. “The daily entries are so filled with minutia that the reading is tedious”

    The quote above, extracted from the text, represents how erratic the whole article was. I mean, everyone’s entitled to…you know. But bear with me: the details presented in the book are what you (Matt) aimed for. To go throughout U2s history with the accuracity of the facts. Bit by bit and the MAIN bits. I guess the writer was bored and flubbed his own work. The book has everything a U2 fan and a rock historian needs. Not in my humble opinion…

  8. Sean says:

    So It won’t be a big seller in Toledo, Big Whoop!

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