Authors Reading-Review-Having no grip on “normalcy”, but somehow helping others http://www.authorsreading.com/confessions-of-a-self-help-writer_153.htm 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 revelation that self help books, purchased by thousands and held in reverence 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.
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Chicago, IL, September 22, 2014 – Whether you’re a prolific reader or read one book a year, you don’t want to miss Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo) by Benjamin W. DeHaven from Lagniappe Publishing.
This is the actual journal of ghost writer Michael Enzo. An enigma to most, Enzo has been described as a philanthropist, a con man, a ghost, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, and an addict. While he was often many of these things, the reality is that Enzo was the ghost writer of more than 100 self-help books for a number of celebrities, politicians and business icons. In many ways his story reads like a bizarre fiction novel…but it’s not, it’s true!
Benjamin DeHaven, Enzo’s former friend and collaborator, describes him as a man who “Defrauded an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people’s insecurities and profiting from them.” Adding, “After failing to make what he considered to be a positive impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him – including me.” By once living life on the edge in their belief that they could only understand people’s problems by experiencing them, it’s very possible that these two friends actually contributed more to the field of self-help, while profiting from it, than they will ever know.
“You couldn’t make this stuff up!” has become the mantra for this extraordinary book that was on IndieBound’s ‘Most Wished for Book of 2014’ list for over 10 weeks. DeHaven, a romantic adventurer who admits his past was filled with lurid depravity, substance abuse and emotional complexity, has released Enzo’s personal journal (salvaged from Enzo’s New Orleans estate after hurricane Katrina) for two reasons; to clear his own conscience and in hopes that people will start helping themselves again after reading it. “To read it is to discover what turns someone from preaching salvation towards seeking its destruction. This is a true story,” says DeHaven.
A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Benjamin DeHaven earned an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans. Currently residing in Las Vegas, he began his writing career with Stone United, a Chicago-based film company that works primarily in independent film. He has written for numerous magazines and media outlets, and has edited screenplays. He was the editor-in-chief of the Nola Shopper (“an enterprise Enzo eventually pauperized,” says DeHaven), a free art newspaper and the second-largest monthly paper in the New Orleans MSA. For more information on Ben or his book, please visit the website: www.bdehaven.com.
Foreword Magazine: “This pontificating, self-centered character offers unexpected insight in an entertaining and edgy way.”
Ken Wilbur, PHD, Marketing Magazine Journal, California: “DeHaven is either a thinking man’s Tucker Max, or an idiot’s Hunter S. Thompson.”
- Donovan, Midwest Book Review “Eye-opening (even eye-popping at points) and involving, Confessions reads like a thriller but is true life at its best.”
Michael Scripps, Scripps Media: “DeHaven makes Bukowski read like a Disney story!”
Ed Helm, Studio News: “Here is one book you must read that also asks you-“What’s the meaning of life?” and is there really a God upstairs guiding your decisions?”
Richard Collier: “The standout Book of 2014. A huge injustice is only reading this book only once.”
Marc Hershon: “A rollicking ride…, a diary of sorts from a man possessed.”
AJ Klatch: “A unique piece of literature to be remembered for its originality as much as for its significance as a statement about living life in today’s harsh reality”
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
Foreword Magazine Fall 2014, P.77-78