IS THAT IT? by Bob with Paul Vallely Geldof
Kirkus Star

IS THAT IT?

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

No-frills reminiscences from the Irish punk-rock star who organized the Live Aid concert which benefited starving Ethiopians. Geldof's purpose in recording his life story seems to be two-fold: to forswear aspirations to sainthood, a label foisted on him by the (mostly English) media in the wake of his charity efforts, and to make an additional pitch for hunger victims. He succeeds on both accounts, first chronicling, without apology, his hellion's youth. Raised in tough Dublin slums, he played the rebel early on, earning expulsion from one school for distributing copies of Mao's Little Red Book and eventually setting fire, while lying in bed with a girl and lit cigarettes, to his father's house. Rock music proved the express ticket away from this pallid life. Almost instant fame came after signing on as lead singer of the punk band the Boomtown Rats; and with the limelight, scores of girls and heaps of money: a poet-adolescent's wet dream related in blunt, no-nonsense words. But behind the success, he claims, a curious itching troubled his conscience. Then a news report about the Ethiopian tragedy changed the course of his life: from taker to giver. Moving quickly to rally musicians towards aiding the victims, Geldof contacted nearly the entire constellation of rock stardom, and, after the Live Aid Concert, luminaries of the political world. Along with moving descriptions of his two trips to Ethiopia, Getdof's interactions with these celebrities constitute his book's latter half, and they are fascinating: a civilized, eager-to-please Mick Jagger; Bob Dylan (""He looked terrible. His face was all puffed out""); Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Prince Charles, Ted Kennedy (""the pores of his skin were large""), Thatcher, Pompideau. A quiet reflection on the future of his charity work closes the book. A winsome common-man's sensibility pervades this refreshingly honest and direct autobiography; noteworthy.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1987
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (10 East 53 St., New York, NY 10022)