REVIEW: D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR (Midwest Book Review)
Confessions of a Self-Help Writer (The Journal of Michael Enzo)
Michael Enzo was a fraud. He was also a philanthropist. He was also a gigolo. And a devout Catholic. He profited from people’s insecurities and when that wasn’t enough he began systematically psychologically destroying those closest to him – including author Benjamin W. DeHaven.
So why would DeHaven then salvage his former friend’s journal from his New Orleans estate after Hurricane Katrina and publish it; especially since he was involved in Enzo’s self-help industry deceptions?
Simple: the act of publishing a journal exposing the roots of deception is an act of contrition and an effort to undo the harm that they caused .
And who will be the likely reader of Confessions of a Self-Help Writer? That would be the reader already interested in the self-help field (possibly even those already familiar with Enzo’s works) who want a deeper understanding of the entire operation, from Enzo’s personality and motivations to the author’s own rationale for participating in Enzo’s schemes.
Now, forgiveness is a powerful motivator – and so is guilt. Without either in place, Confessions of a Self-Help Writer likely wouldn’t have seen the light of day. And another powerful force at work here is egotism: specifically, Michael Enzo’s drive to control and change his world and the worlds of others. Without THAT piece in place, he wouldn’t have formed the schemes he did, nor candidly wrote about them in this journal. Consider the power of the voice that explains his perspective: “”I am one of the feeble who have to hit rock bottom before they can put things in perspective. Besides, once you hit rock bottom, you can start publishing self-help books in your own name, as long as you’re famous. Mine will be a great testimonial to the will of men. When you’ve physically and mentally demolished the physical representation of your soul, suddenly you become an incredible healer, according to my books.”
Add to this dose of autobiography a series of revelations that systematically show how darkness enters a common man’s soul and how it twists motivation to ultimately foster deceptive practices and you have a satisfying blend of autobiography, journal entries, and insights into not just one man’s obsession, but the psychological trappings of the self-help industry as a whole.
Eye-opening (even eye-popping, at points) and involving, Confessions of a Self-Help Writer reads like a thriller but is true life confession at its best.
D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR (Midwest Book Review)