I completely agree. I read it about 6 months into riding which was a bit of a waste. Im rereading it now after a full season of racing and can appreciate it much more. I think for someone on the bike less than a year should be focused on getting into group rides, especially the novice rides that most clubs have.
As for cost, why not try it for 2 months and if it doesn't seem worth it then stop. Even if you only use a few months I am sure you will learn more than enough to justify the cost.