Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Cover & Blurb: FREAK: Memoir of an Outcast

katz 07 30 13
FREAK: Memoir of an Outcast
Bonita, CA - Imagine having your face disappear at birth, and your parents, unable to cope, leaving you behind in the hospital. Imagine the kind life you might be forced to live--the pain, the horror. And yet, somehow, in the midst of it, some unbelievable triumphs that prove the invincibility of the human spirit. And then, imagine tracking down your birth mother. When confronted, what would you ask her? And how do you think she might respond?
FREAK: Memoir of an Outcast is the true story of Howard Shulman. In the hospital, at three days of age, Howard was attacked by a virus that ravaged his face. When the attack was over it had completely destroyed his nose, lower lip, eyelid, and upper palate. As he says in his book, “As quickly as my face disappeared so did my mother.”

Made a ward of the state of New Jersey (thereafter referred to as case# XUG-950), Howard was placed under the care of an experimental state-employed surgeon, who mutilated his body in numerous unnecessarily painful and barbarian attempts to recreate his young patient’s face. Institutionalized in a dreary South Bronx Hospital in New York, Howard spent his early years undergoing innumerable skin and bone grafts and reconstructive surgery that left his body butchered and scarred and, understandably, a river of molten anger coursing through his veins.
From Private School to Dishwasher to Entrepeneur
Bright and observant, Howard suffered the horrors of being misdiagnosed as learning disabled and placed in a grim, prison-like special education school. Later, in sharp contrast, he was sent to an elite private boarding school in Massachusetts where, feeling alienated and that he had no family to officially call his own, he would jeopardize his future. There he saw with stark awareness how much family love he had missed. His feeling a lack of self-worth or sense of belonging would have grave repercussions.
Shuffled between foster homes, he was emancipated at 16 and he began working as a dishwasher, hiding his face as best he could and living in a one-room walk-up in New Jersey. Tenacious and naturally entrepreneurial, by he would eventually find success as the owner of a popular nightclub in San Diego, live in an oceanfront beach house and date beautiful women. He would also learn some extraordinary lessons in life.
Meeting the Mother Who Abandoned Him
At 38, his life takes a dramatic turn when he meets his birth mother for the first time. Though frustrated in his quest to find answers, his meeting with her provides new insight that speaks to the empowerment that comes from making peace with the past.
A poignant and deeply moving portrayal of one man’s reflections on growing up an outcast, FREAK is a unique story of an individual’s search for self. With unapologetic candor, he gives an unflinching account of his ordeals and triumphs, his sometime nefarious adventures from Mexico to NYC, and the larger-than-life characters he encounters. As he begins to trust himself, he also finds ways to improve his appearance: drab hospital gowns and state-funded surgeries are gradually replaced with private clinics and the skills of renowned surgeons.
Women He Loved Who Helped Him Heal
Along the way a European actress, a schoolteacher, and his muse, a fiery Hispanic woman, each help transform his life. He also comes to the aid of a young impoverished Guatemalan mother and her two young children, the young family inspiring him to rise above his own needs and ambitions. By giving of himself, he receives more than he ever imagined possible. Family, he learns, is whomever we touch, wherever they may be.
Despite staggering odds, Shulman surmounts his disadvantaged beginnings to embark upon a journey of self-discovery and, ultimately, love. FREAK is a moving story of redemption.
About the book:
FREAK by Howard Shulman
ISBN: 978-1489588685
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date of publish: July 2013
Pages: 280
S.R.P.: $14.95

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