Michael Enzo and Benjamin DeHaven… I don’t know if I want to buy these men a drink or punch them in the nose. Confessions of a Self-Help Writer is a short read with far more life lessons cleverly hidden within its depths than the modest page count might suggest. Granted most of those lessons are given as a firsthand account of what not to do, but they’re there nonetheless. The novel is a breezy, easy read thanks to the impact of the characters and short chapter length. The book is presented as a journal of the main character, Enzo, with the occasional inserted timeline chapters and frequent margin comments from his former friend and patsy-in-crime, DeHaven.
Enzo’s journal chronicles his descent down the same slippery slopes he is often trying to warn us against, but can’t seem to avoid himself. Doing whatever he wants with no real regard for the consequences, Enzo leaves a trail of destruction in his wake without ever purposely being malicious. His frequent lack of any sense of morality makes those rare moments where his conscience takes control even more pointed and sincere. While Enzo is a charismatic ass people seem to gravitate towards, DeHaven, who sticks mostly to the background of the story, is more relatable and human. While some of DeHaven’s comments may border on the self-righteous, remember that no saints would consider Enzo a friend.
Benjamin DeHaven’s Confessions of a Self-Help Writer may be one of the most standout books written in 2014. The book almost demands a second read through for multiple reasons. Firstly, even with visual formatting clues, at times its difficult to separate Michael Enzo and DeHaven’s narrative. Initially this can be confusing and might throw a reader off but I don’t feel it dissuades from the overall content or impact of the book. Also it seems to make much more sense upon second reading and to quote the book “There are signs everywhere, the secret is reading them.” Secondly is that those pearls of wisdom standout even more the second time around. And finally the truly hysterical moments in the first reading are still humorous on later passes (occasionally even more so). You would be doing yourself a huge injustice to read this book only once.
Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo)
Lagniappe Publishing (July 1, 2014)
By Benjamin DeHaven
More information available at http://bdehaven.com
ISBN-13: 978-09899126-8-6 (Hardcover)
#1 Most Wished-for-Book 2014 Indie Bound
Printed with Permission from Richard Collier, Louisiana Press-