OH no, not another rock ‘n’ roll memoir! Hang on: it’s by Brother Paul. You don’t call him that? I do. Not because naming him this way mocks his religiosity but because, for me, Bono Vox inspires fraternal feelings both good and bad ever since I saw him sing for the first and only time at Strathclyde University.

Like some other 18-year-olds in the crowd Bono – Paul Hewson – was a bit feral, was (as his song has it) “out of control”. He was into Golding’s Lord of the Flies. He resembled one of the lost boys in that novel because his Protestant mum died when he 14; his Catholic dad couldn’t deal with her loss. Bono felt abandoned.

He attended a nondenominational school and formed a loose gang with other misfits calling themselves “Lypton Village”; each gave one another a daft, albeit durable, nickname. Drummer Larry initiates U2 and The Edge, a “pleasant weirdo” into prog rock, joins the band. They sign to Island Records and release Boy, a terrific debut received with much praise.

But Brother Paul is candid: “Our best work is never too far from our worst.”

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To comfort them in their insecurities, U2’s manager Paul McGuinness soon purrs over their meteoric rise.

Bono tips admiring nods to Scottish bands influencing U2: the Associates, the Skids, and Simple Minds. As the band go global there’s an uptick in interesting tales featuring showbiz kids like Louis Walsh and Mariella Frostrup, upwards and onwards to Barack Obama and the Pope.

Soon enough Bono’s involved in big politics and we see him in El Salvador and Ethiopia. U2 shine at Live Aid. Inspired by Bob Geldof, Bono starts lobbying for debt relief and raises money for HIV care.

He’s acutely aware of the “White Messiah Syndrome”: his antagonists may be surprised at the depth of his self-awareness, his understanding of fame’s downsides, the ever present risk of appearing pious and smugly self-congratulatory.

He addresses his faith, naturally enough, but his has been no easy path. Songs for Bono are “my prayers”. Jesus is a constant in his life.

In the early days of the band Bono and two other members were involved in a charismatic group called Shalom. We learn The Edge wanted to leave U2 around the time of October, their second album, due to the conflicting challenges of rock ’n’ roll and religion. As he ages Bono gets more irritated at rich reactionary US evangelicals and delights in reminding them of Christ’s message, his good news to the poor.

Brother Paul is suspicious of those for whom religion has become “a bless me club for Holy Rollers and navel gazers”. He wants to see action.

There’s much here too about the other love of his life: his wife, Ali. Famously Bono wrote Sweetest Thing after forgetting her birthday. He’s brave to tell us about his personal joy given, as Henry de Montherlant says, happiness usually writes in white ink on a white page.

The couple does not agree on everything with the use of nuclear power currently splitting their opinions.

Surrender is well written and Bono is well read: his literary heroes are name-checked: Seamus Heaney and WB Yeats, Jhhn Keats and Jack Kerouac. There are winks to Thomas Pynchon and Cyril Connolly.

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Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet is an obvious (good) influence. He writes Stay (Faraway, So Close!) for Wim Wenders. Bono has a forgivable songwriter’s weakness for near homophones and so we get “reverie and revelry” bracketed together along with “rosary and rosé”, “humidity and humility”, all in one paragraph.

He is open about the group’s successes and failures confessing that thon freebie album downloaded to the world might not have been the best of ideas. Oh, and that the mullet was a mistake. His awareness of what he calls “creeping privilege” is all too rare amongst megastars. As with that other Irish portrait of a young artist Bono is aware that if you fly too high you might fall to earth.

The Irish actor Cillian Murphy told Bono, bravely, that he used to be a big fan of U2: “I loved your early stuff … but then I lost you.” He’s not alone.

As with real siblings, Brother Paul has done some great things (Boy, Zooropa) and some not so great things (Rattle and Hum). But there’s no question Bono Vox has lived some life. Salud, compañero.