Review: Sinner’s Creed by Scott Stapp and David Ritz

[I know I said this would be posted yesterday, but my laptop is well and truly dead. /Sigh/ But here it is… Look for more book reviews in the coming days.]

They say there’s three sides to every story – his, hers, and the truth.

In Sinner’s Creed, we get Scott Stapp’s side of the story. The story of his life to this point, including his perspective on the break-up of popular rock band, Creed.

I remember Creed. Mostly, I remember Arms Wide Open, a song he wrote when his first wife was expecting his first child, Jagger.

In Sinner’s Creed, Stapp goes back to his childhood, with a different name and a very different life.

I won’t get into Stapp’s story too much here, because much of it is likely available online [at least the highlights if not the details – but I haven’t looked] and because I’d recommend reading the book.

My… dissatisfaction, and I hesitate to use that word, comes with the… incompleteness of the memoir. But Stapp’s life isn’t complete, therefore the memoir can’t truly be.

Does that make sense?

There’s answers I’d love to know about how his life turns out, but because his life isn’t over, the answers can’t be there.

For instance, though Creed reunited recently, it didn’t SOUND like there was a true reconciliation between Stapp and the other members. That said, books are finished long before they actually go into print. So what happened over their 2012 tour isn’t fully included. Maybe they did truly have that kind of heart-to-heart clearing up of misunderstandings – coming to terms with how one saw it isn’t the way the other did – and neither may be wrong. Etc. But if so, it’s not included here.

There’s other relationships I would love to know the true outcome of, but with Stapp’s life still [thankfully] on-going, I can whisper a prayer for those relationships to be truly restored without money being a factor [because, face it, anyone with money knows there are people in your life only because of the money].

There were other details that were glossed over or not included, and there’s many reasons why they could be. Including protecting people like Jagger. And I certainly can’t blame Stapp for that. Part of it is my inner “literary voyuer” I’ve mentioned before*. I always want to know more. Stapp is open about his alcohol use and drug use [including prescription drugs he thought were good for him but he’s lucky didn’t kill him], but less open about his “love” live on the road. Maybe because there wasn’t much of one – I don’t know and really, truly, it’s none of my business. But that was one question that lingered for me after he did mention part of that part of his life as a college student. We hear the stories of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” and that’s part of the story not mentioned specifically – or if it is, I missed it.

The other thing that kind of bugged me was that fully 1/3 or so of the book is comprised of song lyrics. I get it. The lyrics of Stapp’s songs are a huge part of who he is and of his story. That said, the novelist in me [see below] would have preferred more ‘prose’.

So what did I like? I loved how open he was with his struggles. With the abuse in his past that made my heart ache for the young Stapp and whisper another prayer for him today. With how God was portrayed to him at different points in his life and how that God differed from the God I know. Yes, God is a God of absolutes – of right and wrong, a God who allows both a heaven and a hell – but God is also a God of love and mercy. That’s the God Stapp wasn’t always shown by those in power in his life.

The “behind the scenes” with Creed was also interesting. Seeing how the group came together – and fell apart. Interesting doesn’t always mean “good” after all.

To say I was left dissatisfied overall isn’t quite right. Dissatisfied isn’t the right word, but I can’t come up with another one. I can’t say that I was fully satisfied though.

Maybe part of it goes back to my novel-writing side. As novelists, generally everything is wrapped up in a neat bow by the end of the book [or at least the series]. The hero gets the girl. The bad guy gets what’s coming to him [in the case of Mary Connealy, shot; in other cases maybe jail time, or just the knowledge that he didn’t get the girl, etc.]. The Happily Ever After.

I truly hope the Stapps [including Scott, his second wife/love of his life Jaclyn and their children Jagger, Milan, and Daniel] are getting their happily ever after. That it will continue and the struggles of the past will stay there. In the past. That’s he’s truly overcome his problems with alcohol and other drugs of choice. That he continues to make amazing music that glorifies his Savior.

I know I’m off to buy some Creed/Scott Stapp CDs here in the next few days. [After I buy a new laptop.]

Overall rating: 8 out of 10 stars

*Yesterday’s Facebook status [one of them]: “The trouble with “The Trouble with Cowboys” [by Denise Hunter]? Too short. /sigh/ But that’s the trouble with lots of books. With the *possible* exception of Julie Lessman ;). And even then I’m not sure :D.”
The point? I always want more from my books ;).
Thanks to Tyndale’s Book Review program for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.