Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo)
Foreword Magazine Fall Magazine Review:
Confessions of a Self-Help Writer: The Journal of Michael Enzo
Benjamin W. DeHaven Lagniappe Publishing 978-0-9899126-8-6 (July 2014)
This pontificating, self-centered character offers unexpected insight in an entertaining and edgy way.
Michael Enzo is the type of protagonist you will either love or hate, and Benjamin DeHaven gives readers plenty of reasons to feel passionately one way or the other in Confessions of a Self-Help Writer.
The titular confessions are—according to narrator Benjamin DeHaven—Enzo’s own journal entries. They have less to do directly with his ghostwriting of self-help books than his random autobiographical experiences of varying depravity and the roads he has happened upon along the way. DeHaven’s interspersed chapters of commentary provide the motivation for publishing the journal as an act of revenge for his own less-than-ideal situation, for which he holds Enzo responsible.
Quirky and inarguably unique in both style and content, Confessions of a Self-Help Writer is sure to evoke strong reactions. Taken at face value, Enzo is a crass and self-involved character, reprehensible in both word and deed for the most part, and with seemingly little sense of responsibility or depth of feeling. However, as with most interesting protagonists, there are layers to his personality and moments that hint at a deeper emotional core to his character. The occasional interruption by DeHaven provides a grounding point at which readers will be reminded that this journal is presented by someone with a biased point of view and an ax to grind.
Enzo is a drunk (and an occasional drug user) who pontificates while urinating into crowds and refers to every woman he knows, including his mother, as “Susan.” His poor attitudes and behaviors started early on, when as a Boy Scout he was the proverbial bad seed, the one who “led three other scouts to destroy the bowline knot that was tied to a self-made
latrine post, forcing unsuspecting friends to fall into a pit of their own feces.” That he later found a brief leadership role within the troop seems rather undeserved, but it’s indicative of his ability to manipulate others.
The book is sprinkled with Enzo’s words of wisdom, helpfully emphasized in boldface, which appear to signify personal epiphanies.
DeHaven runs a risk that readers will be lost in Enzo’s offensiveness, yet those who press on may see him as a metaphor for various societal ills and dichotomies of daily life. Confessions of a Self-Help Writer is an entertaining if slightly disturbing tale of a man who is consistently devoted to being own worst enemy.
Jeannine Chartier Hanscom
“So Jonathan (African American) and I were each other’s key to a world neither of us had ever known….It was Jonathan’s group of friends that just couldn’t get past our friendship….In their eyes, I didn’t understand the blues and I wasn’t invited.” “So I’ll just have to stick to ghostwriting self-help books for now, I guess. Damn it.” Benjamin DeHaven and Michael Enzo were friends until Michael backed out on a business deal leaving the country with the money arising out of the sale of New Orleans newspaper, the Nola Shopper. DeHaven comes to the conclusion that the only way to get revenge is to publish the personal journal of Michael Enzo who as Dehaven states is a fugitive from justice for fraud and hunted by organized crime. Each entry of Michael Enzo’s journal discloses personal information and events surrounding his life journey through his gambling, drugs, and women that necessitated an essential determination to create capital opportunities to support his rich addictions. The novel is truly interesting in its format of journal entries with intertwining philosophical quips and is unmistakably clear and concise as to the nature of events taking place and revealing them with wit and satirical humor. Conversely, the rhythm is somewhat unbalanced while reading triggering uncertainty as to which person is divulging the story. I recommend this novel to persons interested in Michael Enzo’s life as revealed in his personal journal entries and whether he will ever compensate those, he befriended yet defrauded. I received this book free from the Net Galley Reviewer Program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines
Book Views by Alan Caruba http://bookviewsbyalancaruba.blogspot.com/2014/06/bookviews-july-2014.html
Confessions of a Self-Help Writer: A Journal of Michael Enzo by Benjamin W. Dehaven ($22.95, Lagniappe Publishing), is strictly for grownups, as much a comedy as a tragedy, as it tells the story of Enzo, a ghostwriter for the rich and famous, and the author of successful self-help books in his own right who faces having to write another to pay his debts. He may be able to tell others how to cope, but his own life has been filled with all manner of misdeeds that include depravity, substance abuse, and emotional complexity. This is a difficult book to describe because it seems so real, but it is never boring.
Library Thing Review: https://www.librarything.com/work/14932346/reviews/109604229
JEFF Rodgers Review:
I have read it, and what a wild ride it was! I especially like the quotes or offers of advice in the outlining type, very creative and I think I’ve heard some of them before but it might have been written by somebody else I was reading at the time. The book feels like an open letter to capture a man who may or may not want to be found. I laughed a lot, felt sympathy and then wished I was Enzo a few times but I don’t have the guts or ten lives it would take to get the nerve up to be him. Well written and entertaining and this book leaves more questions to be answered that actually answers them, could a sequel be in the works, maybe an answer to a petition filed in court, who knows, either way it was a great read and something I’ll keep as a perennial.
Thanks again for the advanced readers copy,
Book Pleasures-Average Review-Carolyn Warren http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/6807/1/Confessions-of-a-Self-Help-Writer-The-Journal-of-Michael-Enzo-Reviewed-By-Carolyn-Warren-of-Bookpleasurescom/Page1.html#.U43T9WS9Kc0
Authors Reading: P4EVR@aol.com [mailto:P4EVR@aol.com] Stacie Hearne June 05, 2014 Author’s Reading LLP P O Box 8008 Lumberton, TX 77657
Confessions of a Self Help Writer by Benjamin DeHaven is a work of fiction–based on non fiction. DeHaven and Enzo have a very long history and relationship. Michael Enzo is a ghost writer for self help books. He has written many and at times has written books for those who don’t even know he has written them. Enzo lives quite the life–drugs, alcohol, prostitution-to name a few. He really only surfaces on the book writing scene when he is broke and needs something to finance his lifestyle. Enzo’s journal is found in the aftermath of Katrina, and from this DeHaven writes his book. One has to wonder if all in the journal is true or another of Enzo’s writing “stunts”–no matter what the case it is interesting reading. The eye opener is the relevation that self help books, purchased by thousands and held in reverance could be written by a character like Enzo. The stark contrast between Enzo’s life and what he writes for others is mind boggling. A man that has absolutely no grip on “normalcy”, but can write to guide and help others is truly a testament to his brilliance. No doubt when you read Confessions of a Self Help Writer you will wonder how DeHaven and Enzo stayed so entangled for so many years. Love hate relationship? No matter the reason this is a very good read. You must remember there will be offensive language, lifestyles and relationships. The next time you pick up a self help book—-remember Enzo.
The Grand Adventure Review—James Kelly-Librarian firstname.lastname@example.org—Link: http://thndrstd.tumblr.com/post/91861843311/confessions-of-a-self-help-writer-the-journal-of
Full Text: A short and very funny novel that rips into the self-help and celebrity culture of modern times. Michael Enzo writes self-help books, many under the names of famous celebrities, even though his own life – financially, spiritually, and romantically – is a complete shambles, complete with heavy drugs and illegality. Ben DeHaven, his friend and colleague, finds Enzo’s journal after he disappears and publishes it with his own notes regarding the mess that is Michael Enzo. Laugh-out-loud funny at times and a very quick read.
Donovan’s Bookshelf (http://donovansbookshelf.weebly.com/ ) later in the month.
D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/mbw/jun_14.htm#donovan