ED HELD—Text From Above: Here is a novel that is crazy, intriguing and tells of Ghost Writing and bankrupting a New Orleans Newspaper! Confessions of a Self-Help Writer: The Journal of Michael Enzo, Hardcover by Benjamin DeHaven. A ghost, a philanthropist, a con man, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, an heir, a common man, a writer, and an addict are just some of the words used to describe Michael Enzo. He defrauded an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people’s insecurities and profiting from them. After failing to make an impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him, including Benjamin DeHaven, the author of this book. Here’s one book you must read that also asks you- “What Is the Meaning of Life?” and is there really a God upstairs guiding your decisions! —If you ever wanted a sneak- look into the madness that festers in Big Easy, pick up this book for a feast of irregularities!
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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.
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.
Jeff Rodgers Review-Confessions of a Self-Help Writer
“A Perennial Read with Questions left to answer”
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