Genre: Adult, Memoir
Source: Review copy from author.
FREAK: Memoir of an Outcast is the author’s improbable but true story. When only days old, an infection attacks the author’s face, destroying his nose, lower lip, eyelid, and upper palate. Abandoned at the hospital by his parents and made a ward of the state of New Jersey, he is placed under the care of a state-employed surgeon who experimentally re-builds his face. Beginning what would become decades of reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts, Howard Shulman embarks on an unforgettable journey to find his place in the world. With street smarts and humor, bullied and outcast, he defies all odds by rising from dishwasher to successful entrepreneur. An unexpected twist of fate leads him to his birth mother — a chance event that drives home the lesson of what it will cost him if he doesn’t make peace with the past. By turns heart wrenching and funny, Howard’s story is a testament to the human spirit. FREAK will resonate with readers long after the final page.
There are many words that could describe Howard Shulman. Pity is not one of them. After reading this story of courage and survival I feel like there are so many lessons we could learn from him. This is an inspiring and uplifting story. Bullied, unloved by his parents, Howard proves to us that no matter what the obstacles or how unsurmountable they seem they can be conquered. There is always room for hope. This is a story that should be read by everyone. What problems I have seem so small compared to what he has endured. This is the way to end the year with a story that is definitely uplifting.