This book is about Michael Enzo and Ben DeHaven and the friendship among them. Enzo is the author (a ghostwriter) for tons of self-help books. And he's a walking contradiction. He writes these books when he absolutely needs the money, which is usually to uphold his lifestyle. Enzo gives great advice, all under the guise of a celebrity name, but he doesn't live it, to say the least. Money eventually tears DeHaven and Enzo apart, after a myriad of crazy adventures together--most of which are terrible considering Michael Enzo is the official, unofficial advice giver. He gambles, deals drugs, participates in underage prostitution, and rips people off regularly. DeHaven writes Enzo's journal as a way to out him and ruin Enzo's good name (if he still has one). Overall, this was an extremely interesting read. Not your usual book, but it has moments of humor and moments where you question what is really going on.
Who is Michael Enzo? You certainly haven't heard of him. As previously mentioned he has written over 108-self-help books. That's more published work than Agatha Christie, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. As DeHaven writes, only 54 of these books are directly attributed to Enzo. Almost his entire canon was published under the names of movie stars, politicians and business leaders. There are rumors abound that no less than 2 of the world's ten wealthiest men are said to have used Enzo as a ghost-writer. In my extensive research, I couldn't find a single person who willingly admitted to knowing Enzo, let alone that he wrote a book for them. I feel it imperative to opine that to me many of those people were obviously lying. Conversely, in interviews with readers of Enzo's many books, I encountered glowing remarks. Many of whom attribute their status in life to his words. None of those readers cared for a minute that the famous names appearing on their books were not the actual portents of such sage advice.
What did Enzo write about in his journal? If you've been helped by any of his books then you probably don't want to find out. If you want to know the truth (or his version of it) then you'll get a glimpse of someone most easily classified as a psychopath. Enzo wrote self-help books purely for profit. Hypocrite isn't a strong enough word to describe him. Michael recounts drug deals, catastrophic gambling losses, molestation of Virginia Ham, defiling the bathroom habits of cats and dogs alike, abandoning friends in need, sympathizing with underage prostitutes, supernatural proclivities in dorm rooms and the deaths of the closest of friends, some of whom he didn't even know. The confession that is most upsetting is that he would fall back on his tremendous talent, writing self-help, only as a last act to pay his debtors and ridiculous lifestyle.
Benjamin DeHaven is also a recurring character in Enzo's stories and it's easy to understand why the two are no longer friends. Research tells me the two scribes were business partners, several times over, with all enterprises ending badly for DeHaven. They may have been each other's sponsor at various times via multiple incarnations of anonymous meetings. Their bond is so close that they even shared the same love for a woman named, Susan, who may or may not have been a porn star. DeHaven shares his own perspective of the Enzo years and at times seems to be admitting some responsibility for his counterpart's bad behavior. However, he claims his goal in releasing this journal is to destroy any positive connotations of the Enzo name. Frankly, DeHaven is often times shown in a very negative light, which to me adds a much needed layer of credibility to such a fantastical story.
In conclusion, the confessions of both, Michael Enzo and Benjamin DeHaven, leave me wondering just how close these two actually were. I can't tell if DeHaven truly wants to ruin any remaining good name Enzo may have or if he's actually doing it out of love, reaching out to the one person who is still lost. Michael Enzo, wherever you are, pick up a self help book and give it a read. Who knows, you may have written it.
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A Graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Benjamin DeHaven keeps his heart in Chicago and his soul in New Orleans. He holds a MBA from Tulane and a film degree from Columbia. Once ejected from a community college for arguing Frost cried out for acceptance in Birches, he has since written screenplays, traded futures in Madrid, and was Editor in Chief of the Nola Shopper Newspaper, a free art newspaper and the 2nd largest monthly paper in the New Orleans, MSA. . He also has a "shout out" in a Jay "Z" Song.
DeHaven, who currently resides in Las Vegas began his writing career with Stone United, a Chicago based Film Company, which works primarily in independent film. As an unknown fiction writer, he feels the best description of himself, is a sarcastic one and is as follows:
Benjamin W. DeHaven was born on a pool table after a Waylon Jennings' concert in 1977. His personal success is outweighed only by his stunning good looks and adherence to unwritten moral guidelines. He has been described as a thinking man's Tucker Max as well as an idiot's Hunter S. Thompson. His goal is to die from an unwavering commitment to be more like Hemingway.
He and Michael Enzo were friends.
5 signed hardback books.
1 $50 Amazon Gift Card & 1 $25 Amazon Gift Cards