Album Review :
Lacey Sturm - The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living
Author: Lacey Sturm
Title: The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living
Publisher: Baker Books
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Reviewer: Ian Zandi
I remember the very first time that I had heard Flyleaf. It was back in 2008 when a good friend from youth group introduced me to them. I bought the re-release of their debut album, Flyleaf, and watched DVD featuring acoustic sets and music videos. The standouts were definitely “I’m So Sick” and Lacey’s hand motions as she put her emotions into music. I had really never seen anything like it before. A few months later, I found that very same song’s distinctive screaming intro to be playable on the video game Rock Band. It blew my mind that a very upfront Christian band could cross the chasm into such a mainstream product among the likes of Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana. I very much credit that self-titled album (among a few others) that changed my 16-year old self’s viewpoint of life and music tastes.
Flyleaf released 2 more albums before Lacey Sturm announced her departure from the band and letting Kristen May take the vocal reigns. This story seemed to be a very confusing surprise to many as Flyleaf was still running strong from the outside looking in. She cited some personal reasons for her absence from the platinum-selling rock band, and it is explained in some detail in this book.
The book opens up with the fact that Lacey should not have been alive today. She was a miracle baby that shouldn’t have survived from birth complications. As a teenager, she had planned to end her life. She fell in love with sadness, became an atheist, and felt the urge to fulfill the emptiness that lingered inside of her. However, in a moment of divine intervention, Lacey recognized what God’s love truly feels like. She realized the beauty of the world and found purpose.
Drawing major influence from bands such as Nirvana, Sturm set out to help those that struggled with faith and depression just like she did. Seeing Kurt Cobain take the form of a kid in rags, but sing about his struggles, inspired her to do the same. However, the distinctive difference between Lacey and Cobain is that she recognized that committing suicide is not the brave route to take. She knew that she had a reason to live.
Lacey was able to impact the lives of many through the formation of the band Flyleaf. She pushed that the message would remain the same despite being signed to a major mainstream record (Octone Records). Though not being preachy, she wanted the broken audience that flocked to their shows to be touched by the grace of God. Lacey wanted them to know that they are loved and had a reason to live.
The biggest turning point in her career occurred after the band’s very close friend and sound engineer Rich Caldwell died in a car accident. She considered the delicate nature of life and the real meaning behind Memento Mori (the name of the band’s second album). Lacey wondered how she would spend her last year with her son, if she were to die. Additionally, there were some persistent vocal problems that prevented Lacey from being able to hit the notes that she used to. At one point in time, she was not able to speak at all for three months straight. Sturm was at high risk of losing her voice forever (much like Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline).
In recent years Lacey Sturm has become a touring speaker for events such as Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Rock the River. She plans on periodically releasing music as a solo act with her husband in support. In fact, she released a song, “The Reason”, to coincide with the release of this book. It starts off a bit mundane before blossoming into a full-fledged passionate song that shows her heart on her (book) sleeve.
This book may come off a bit too religious for some of the mainstream following that Flyleaf has. However, it is not made to cater towards specific beliefs. This is Lacey Sturm’s testimony containing her struggles, passion, love, and inspirations. I hope that any passerby would pickup this book, read it from flyleaf to flyleaf, and find hope contained in the pages inbetween. It will surely appeal to a large audience of Rock Band-playing fiends and CCM-lovers alike. At the very least, her life story is interesting to read and gives some backstory behind some of Flyleaf’s songs. She never bores the reader with Christian rants or unnecessary details (save for an obligatory afterword section that has information on how to pursue a life of Christ. I believe this is completely necessary for this book though.). Every few pages I found a small illustration of various doodles. Whether or not they were actually drawn by Lacey for this book, they definitely add some style to the book and set it apart from other musical biographies.
Overall: This is not a tell-all story of Lacey Sturm’s life and I respect that. The book is not meant to be a privacy-breaking piece of tabloid. It was made to encourage others that are in the same vein of pains. Towards the end of the book, she expressed her desire to write more books on other topics. I wholeheartedly support this. I eagerly look forward to any future endeavors that Lacey will embark on. God has a reason for her to live, and she is fulfilling it.