Well, it's really your call, as you suspect we may be biased here - although many have used other CMS (drupal, joomla, etc) but have choosen silverstripe - I very much doubt you'll find it the other way around.
You can achieve your goals in many different ways. With silverstripe having a great MVC implementation it makes coding a very pleasant experience and whilst things are possible in more than one platform and more than one way within a platform - I do believe your code will be more effective and elegant within Silverstripe.
If you have an error with the tutorials, please report it and I am sure you will get help directly with that. With the articles and holder pages this might achieve all that you require.
You are about to develop your own web application, Nick. This is not like downloading a browser and installing some plugins. SilverStripe(Sapphire) is a mighty and easy to learn tool for that. Furthermore, I totally agree with swaiba.
Well I started using SilverStripe three years ago knowing nothing about PHP. I found it a lot easier to wrap my head around then a lot of the competing products. Now pretty much every site I build is SS, and I've even been experimenting with using sapphire to help build out databases for iOS apps using Phone Gap.
There really is a lot of versatility in the system, even for total newbies, and actually my first site was a catalog site (And most of my sites are). I just took the eccommerce module, stripped out all cart related classes and just modified the the Product and ProductGroup ones.
Yes there's a learning curve, but you're going to have that with any system.