… or is it Stephen Bennet??? (See, I really did read the book)
I enjoyed reading this memoir. Most (auto)biographies should be taken with a grain of salt. Memories can fade. False memories easily slide into the mind. The author knew this; even admitted it. He lived it. But he also knew that to tell a factually accurate story he would need to do his research. Cited sources allowed me, and I imagine other readers, to feel more confident the story I was reading was true, as opposed to “based on a true story”.
The first half of the book discusses how the “Julie” team was formed through to the end of the investigation. During much of this I felt I was reading two different stories meshed together. I would follow Steve through all the parties. I was thrilled to rub elbows with musical greats right alongside him. Late nights spent drinking at pubs, socializing with locals, getting high. I was drawn into the excitement. And then I’m brought back to reality. Daily reports to file, meetings to attend, people to track. I was constantly forgetting there was a purpose to all this madness. I’m fairly certain Steve never forgot, but I can only imagine it became more difficult as time passed. As mentioned in the book, the cover story and subsequent lies became easier to tell the longer he lived it. “Fake it til you make it” certainly holds true here, but probably not in the intended spirit.
After the massive take-down and subsequent journalism excitement the team was disbanded. What happens next should never have happened. What do you think happens to a person’s psyche after months of living a double life such as Steve did? Unfortunately, depression and mental illness were not thought of or even talked about. Steve expresses how low he was. And then he got even lower. It doesn’t appear he had much of a support system. As I was reading his thoughts, I realized this book is Steve’s therapy. I say “is” because, in some way or other, he’s still writing it. I may be off, but I don’t think so.
I applaud this man for his bravery in making public what most would feel should be kept private. This book opens up many discussions, such as mental health, politics, special training, and how the world can unite on the issue of drugs. Thank you for sharing your life with us!
Stephen Bentley can be reached via twitter @StephenBentley8.
I received this eBook free from the author in exchange for an honest review.