Travels With Casey
A 2014 New York Times bestseller, Travels With Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog-Crazy Country, tells the story of Benoit's 32-state, 13,000-mile journey in an RV with a Labrador he worries doesn't like him very much. On the way, Benoit meets an irresistible cast of dogs and dog-obsessed humans. He and Casey hang out with wolf-dogs in Appalachia, search with a dedicated rescuer of stray dogs in Missouri, spend a full day at a kooky dog park in Manhattan, get pulled over by a K9 cop in Missouri, and visit “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan in California. And then there are the pet psychics, dog-wielding hitchhikers, and two nosy women who took their neighbor to court for allegedly failing to pick up her dog’s poop.
Travels With Casey was reviewed positively everywhere from the New York Times to Modern Dog. People named TWC its "Book of the Week." Publisher's Weekly raved that though "comparisons to John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley are obvious... this is an entirely different and equally reqarding piece of work that expands with each page without losing its narrative thread or the readers's interest." Benoit was called "warm, often hilarious company" (New York Times), "a master at effortlessly weaving research into his narrative" (Los Angeles Times), a "hot summer author" (USA Today), and the creator of a "funny, fast-paced, life-affirming, moving, and satisfying... adventure tale" (Lambda Literary).
A collection of Benoit's magazine writing from early in his career, American Voyeur: Dispatches From the Far Reaches of Modern Life takes readers inside some unexpected corners of this country. Benoit visits a summer camp for pro-life teenagers, a San Francisco neighborhood where homeless teens have made a home, a middle-school where a biological girl secretly lives as a boy, a New Hampshire town where two popular brothers committed suicide, a compound in the Ohio woods where Abercrombie & Fitch resigns (or used to reign) over the teen fashion world, a Boston social group for lipstick lesbians, and many other fascinating communities and subcultures.
In its review of American Voyeur, The San Francisco Chronicle said the book "marries comprehensive reporting to perhaps the best chosen subject matter (the reviewer has) 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." The Minneapolis Star-Tribune applauded Benoit for incorporating "his own experiences, bringing an honest, self-deprecating tone that avoids editorializing yet clarifies the stakes." Publishers Weekly added that 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... He combines sharp-eyed reportage, sensitive depiction, and happily, considering the sober subject matter, a wry wit."
For nearly three years, Benoit immersed himself inside the lives of eight addicts--including a grandmother, a college student, a bodybuilder, a housewife, and a drug and gambling addiction counselor--hooked on everything from alcohol and crack to food, gambling, and sex. In the process, America Anonymous shines a spotlight on our most misunderstood health problem (is addiction a brain disease? A spiritual malady? A moral failing?) and tries to break through the shame and denial that still shape our cultural understanding of it—and hamper our ability to treat it.
Published in 2009, the book was widely and positively reviewed. Elle called it "graceful and compelling" and lauded it for its "deeply refreshing, unpuritanical frankness." In a starred review, Kirkus dubbed it "an arresting, personal glimpse into the merciless world of drug and behavioral addiction" marked by "seasoned, dexterous prose." The Cleveland Plain-Dealer called it "engrossing" and wrote that Benoit gave "readers a sense of the ravaging power of addiction." The Huffington Post called America Anonymous one of the best of books of the year.
Benoit spoke about the book (and addiction) on numerous television and radio programs, including The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, and NPR's Here & Now.