About the Book
For decades, Steven Curtis Chapman’s music and message have brought hope and inspiration to millions around the world. Now, for the first time, Steven openly shares the experiences that have shaped him, his faith, and his music in a life that has included incredible highs and faith-shaking lows. Steven Curtis Chapman offers no sugary solutions to life’s toughest questions. Yet out of the brokenness, he continues to trust God to one day fix what is unfixable in this life.
Title: Between Heaven and the Real World
Author: Steven Curtis Chapman with Ken Abraham
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Steven Curtis Chapman lays it all on the line in what some might call a “tell-all” book about his life. Sub-titled “My Story”, this is more than just a behind the scenes look at the life of an artist trying to make it in the music business. Chapman covers it all. From details about his family life growing up in Paducah, Kentucky, to details of tearing down the family house in Nashville, Tennessee and starting all over again. In between these two major events, the reader is taken on somewhat of a roller coaster ride of what seems to be tragedy and disappointment.
There’s a lot of heartache in this book. Don’t get me wrong, there’s also a lot of dependence on God and lessons learned along the way as well. But overall, it seems like the Chapman family has had more heartache than joy. For a man with over 11 million records sold, 58 Dove Awards, 5 Grammys, an American Music Award, and 48 career #1 singles, it seems as though Steven Curtis Chapman has little to praise God for. Instead of celebrating blessings and giving the praise back to God, his story focuses on the bad – even when there is much good going on around him.
I can’t say this is a stellar, must-have book for your library. However, I will say there is an honesty contained here making the read somewhat worthwhile. Throughout the book, Chapman makes light of the fact he can sometimes “talk too much” during concerts. He should have realised the tendency of talking too much as he wrote this book. Or at least his editors should have left some of the story on the editing room floor. Coming in at over 420 pages, Between Heaven & The Real World can at times feel much like standing in line waiting for a movie – or even a concert – to open its doors.
Even though I found the book long, that’s not to say there aren’t any saving factors in what’s written. By page 219 it is quite refreshing to read Chapman’s discovery declaring, “I hadn’t thought a lot about God having fun before, but I began to realise that if He created everything, He also created fun. Joy and delight and surprises and, yes, even fun are all His ideas, and it seemed like He was having a lot of fun taking us on this journey”.
Even more refreshing is the transparency Chapman reveals in describing many of his counselling sessions. However, the most amazing words of advice he and his wife receive don’t come until the book is almost finished when a counsellor tells them; “There’s a lot you can and should celebrate”. In my opinion, those two statements about a “fun God” and “celebrating” would have been a great way to start the book, and in turn set the stage for the rest of the story.
In the chapter “A Transformed Family”, Chapman writes, “I didn’t try to preach at anyone; I just told my stories and shared through my songs what I believed and what was most important in my life”. I will say this about Steven Curtis Chapman and his new book, he does not try to preach to anyone. At times it feels like a long run-on sentence, but there’s no preaching. Then, by the end of the story, there is hope and encouragement.
If nothing else, Between Heaven & The Real World will leave the reader encouraged simply saying – “Wow! If Steven Curtis Chapman can survive that much heartache in the midst of so much good, then I can survive too.”
Enjoy the read!
Special thanks to Graf-Martin Communications for supplying review copy.