“Denizet-Lewis offers stirring and sensitive portraits of individuals—frequently adolescents—struggling to articulate desire and identity while bearing the weight of societal taboo and marginalization. In the best sections—such as his groundbreaking investigation into a subculture of closeted gay African American men and his acutely observed piece on the ostracized organization NAMBLA—he combines sharp-eyed reportage, sensitive depiction, and happily, considering the sober subject matter, a wry wit… For the breadth of his inquiries, the real shoe-leather journalism, and his ability to balance sympathy and skepticism (his study of transient gay youth is one such an example), he admirably succeeds.”–Publishers Weekly.
“Denizet-Lewis deftly combines journalism and sociology in these 16 articles… Focusing on youth culture, sex, and sexual identity (often gay and lesbian), the thirtysomething reporter demonstrates a flair for what he calls “immersion journalism” or “wait(ing) around for people to be themselves.” In practice, this means patiently establishing an emotional rapport with people as disparate as homeless gay teens and prepubescent extreme-sport athletes who are fielding more commercial endorsements than they can count. The resulting reports are insightful, entertaining, and often thought provoking… Denizet-Lewis is always an engaging and well-informed guide to some of the farther reaches of contemporary American culture.”–Booklist.
“Denizet-Lewis has perfected the art of voyeur journalism, and this collection of his best features gives beautiful glimpses into some very compelling yet everyday lives. From the fascinating story of M., a girl secretly living as a boy through junior high, to the heart-ripping ‘Brother’s Keeper,’ Denizet-Lewis takes on topics that make you feel a little uncomfortable but nonetheless intrigued. The bonus to getting to read these awesome works is the introduction—critical reading to better understand the journalist’s mindset throughout the process of writing each story.” 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.—Instinct Magazine.
“All of (the pieces) are defined by diligent reporting and unshowy prose; on occasion… he openly discusses his own experiences, bringing an honest, self-deprecating tone that avoids editorializing yet clarifies the stakes. All those talents are on full display in the nerviest piece in the collection, a 2001 feature on NAMBLA titled “Boy Crazy.” The group is typically dismissed as a laughingstock or denigrated as a terror, but Denizet-Lewis finds a more nuanced story in which the group, as he writes, “badly overestimated both the inclusiveness of gay liberation and the breadth of the sexual revolution.” Giving voice to its members makes him no NAMBLA apologist: He damningly notes that membership “is, and always has been, remarkably short on boys.” But a thread that runs through nearly all of these pieces is that lives can be ruined forever by fear and misinformation about sexuality, which obliges him to get his facts just as correct with pedophiles as with young teens coming out. It’s a difficult but critical strain of journalism, and American Voyeur testifies to its importance.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“American Voyeur marries comprehensive reporting to perhaps the best chosen subject matter I’ve read in a long time, the kind of stories you clip and save over months before discovering they belong in a single author’s folder… And in the small world of book-length collections of investigative journalism, we need a lot more of what he is doing.”—San Francisco Chronicle.
“Magazine writers who compose extended nonfiction narratives about human beings devoted to extreme activity are not exactly rare. But such writers who compose memorable narratives are rare indeed…. Denizet-Lewis possesses a talent for finding productive locales, and the virtue of patience while he connects with potential sources.”—Jewish Journal.
“I expected reading American Voyeur to be a guilty pleasure, but Denizet-Lewis’s compassion and involvement swept all the guilt away and left the pleasure!” — Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America.
“Thank God for Benoit Denizet-Lewis’s insatiable curiosity. It has resulted in a fascinating book. American Voyeur is about the big issues — sex, identity, religion, death — but is told through small, compelling corners of culture.”– A. J. Jacobs, author of The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment.
“In American Voyeur, Benoit Denizet-Lewis takes us on a riveting, sometimes uncomfortable, always thought-provoking trip through worlds we think we know about — and others we’ve not heard of before. He slips in and out with seeming ease, coming back with sparkling details and observations, challenging our ideas about sexuality, secrets, gender, and relationships. Whatever you believed before will be stirred after reading this book.”– Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius XM Radio host and author of Queer in America.
“Kicky, cutting-edge work to show younger readers who think journalism is dead.”–Library Journal.
“Benoit Denizet-Lewis is a tremendous talent and one of the best journalists of his generation.”–Jon Barrett, editor of The Advocate.
“One of the best books I’ve read in the last year, and one of the most powerful I’ve encountered about addiction.”—Rachel Kramer Bussel, The Huffington Post.
“A dazzling portrait of eight addicts and their intimate, sometimes heartbreaking struggle… Addicts will read this book; those who want to understand addiction should read it!”—Susan Cheever, The Daily Beast.
“A really excellent read. If anyone out there has not read it, I would really recommend it.”–Anderson Cooper.
“An arresting, personal glimpse into the merciless world of drug and behavioral addiction. All eight of the people (Benoit) followed are gripping subjects, and he describes their plights in seasoned, dexterous prose.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review).
“A graceful, compelling book focusing directly on people, not on concepts or proscriptive ideas. Denizet-Lewis relates their successes, relapses, and struggles to stay clean with warmth, clarity, and a deeply refreshing, unpuritanical frankness.”—ELLE Magazine.
“An intriguing glimpse into the brain of an addict and the new hit or miss treatments… Denizet-Lewis is a compelling storyteller, and his wide-range of stories of addiction, relapse and recovery far exceeds other books in the genre.”—Publishers Weekly.
“Compelling… Intimate… Denizet-Lewis never resorts to sugarcoating, navel-gazing, or proselytizing. He lets the characters tell their stories and shapes them into tight narratives with the insight of an insider. The result is a rare light shone on the private and shadowy world of addiction and recovery.”—CityPages.
“I was skeptical about another book about addiction, but Denizet-Lewis finds a fresh, provocative approach to the subject… I often felt like I was right there listening to the conversations. And, boy, was I paying attention.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“Engrossing… Denizet-Lewis gives readers a sense of the ravaging power of addiction.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“Benoit exposes and explodes a million myths about addiction, never succumbing to the temptation to make addiction – or recovery – less complex than it is. This unforgettable book is far more than a compilation of irresistible, artfully told stories about addicts. It’s about truth, healing, survival, and hope.”—David Sheff, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction.
“Benoit writes with an impressive mix of transparency and compassion about the addict’s eternal battle between will and action. He sees deep into the sadness of desperate people, and equally deep into the systems that redeem such sadness. This is an intimate, compelling volume.”—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.
“This book reaches into the dark depths of the heart and soul of addiction by telling the stories of people who have struggled to find their way into the light of the healing. It is a collage of potent experiences from ordinary people–women and men caught in the web of addiction whose fight for recovery will inspire anyone who reads Benoit’s book.”—William Cope Moyers, author of Broken.
FULL REVIEWS OF AMERICA ANONYMOUS
ELLE Magazine by Kate Christensen.
Minneapolis Star Tribune by Rochelle Olson.
The Huffington Post by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
The Daily Beast by Susan Cheever.
Winnipeg Free Press by Douglas Johnston.
The Boston Globe by Johnny Diaz.
Cleveland Plain Dealer by Vikas Turakhia.
CityPages by Rhena Tantisunthorn.
The New York Times by Polly Morrice.
San Francisco Chronicle by Steve Heilig.
Salon by Laura Miller.
Addiction Inbox by Dirk Hanson.
PROFILES & INTERVIEWS
Huffington Post by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Soup Cans by Steve Pepdjonovic.
The Advocate by Rachel Dowd.
Contra Costa Times by Jessica Yadegaran.
Boston Globe by Rachel Deahl.
AfterElton.com by Brent Hartinger.
MetroWest Daily News by Rick Holmes.
Bay Windows by St. John Barned-Smith.
Boston Phoenix by Ian Sands.
Here & Now by Robin Young.
Minnesota Public Radio hosted by Kerri Miller.
WNYC hosted by Leonard Lopate.
The John Williams Show on WGN radio. Part 1. Part 2.
Sirius Radio hosted by Michelangelo Signorile.
Recovery Coast to Coast hosted by Neil Scott.
Take12Radio hosted by Monty Meyer.
Sober Cafe Podcast hosted by Gracie Vandiver.
PsychJourney Podcast by Deborah Harper.