Running from the Mirror
As quickly as his face disappeared, so did his mother and father
“Without doubt, one of the most moving and memorable memoirs I have ever read.”
—Marilyn, Goodreads reviewer
Just three days after he was born, Howard Shulman contracted an infection that devoured his face. Abandoned at the hospital by his parents, he became a ward of New Jersey under the care of a state-employed experimental surgeon. Throughout the early years of his life, Howard underwent innumerable skin and bone grafts and reconstructive surgeries that left him with a butchered body and a river of anger coursing through his veins.
Running from the Mirror is the poignant true story of one man’s struggle to survive against staggering odds and create a meaningful life for himself.
With unapologetic candor, Howard gives an unflinching account of growing up a bullied outcast, with no family to officially call his own. Shuffled between foster homes, he is emancipated at sixteen and begins working as a dishwasher while living in a one-room walk-up in New Jersey. Through street smarts and grit, he eventually finds success as the owner of a popular nightclub in San Diego. Along the way, a European actress, a schoolteacher, and a fiery Latina help transform his life.
Filled with heart-wrenching suffering as well as soul-lifting joy, Running from the Mirror is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
“This compelling memoir begins at the time of Shulman’s birth, when an infection destroyed part of his face and his distraught parents abandoned him in the hospital. The story moves through his orphaned childhood and adolescence, his multiple surgeries and unkind classmates, and on to adulthood. He manages to treat a difficult subject without sentimentality or self-pity, discusses his mistakes and shortcomings unflinchingly, and moves through the key events in his life with a keen sense of pacing . . . [Running from the Mirror] provides a memorable reading experience, as well as an education.”—US Review of Books
“This book begs to be seen as a major motion picture!”—Al Zuckerman, founder of Writer’s House, literary agent for The Blind Side, and best-selling author of Writing the Blockbuster Novel
“Running from the Mirror is vivid and engrossing from start to finish. As much as Shulman is influenced by his physical appearance and his childhood traumas, he is also driven by an inner resolve to create a better life for himself.”—D. Donovan, senior reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Shulman’s story . . . reads like an engrossing thriller with an engaging, ugly-beautiful anti-hero who finds redemption. The best tribute I can give this astonishing tale is to urge you to stare into the author’s mirror for yourself!”—Natalie Wood, Perfectly Well Read
“Author Howard Shulman takes us past the politeness of mere acquaintances and into his inner circle as a most trusted confidant. This poignant memoir was masterfully crafted from beginning to end.” —Kara Piazza, The Writing Piazza
“What an amazing, inspirational story. The author has such heroic drive and strength that I found myself thinking of Mask. This all-too-true tale of personal redemption and growth should touch a nerve in every reader.”—Gregory Lawrence, author of the New York Times best-seller Dancing on My Grave
“I was totally engrossed in this story from beginning to end . . . A story of finally coming to terms with his birth parents decision to give him up and after a lifetime of struggle, finally finding love and happiness for himself.”—Comforter, Amazon Review
“I cheered on the author through every travail, holding my breath at some of them, and had to fight the urge not to skip ahead and read the ending. I lost that fight, but still backtracked to see how the dots connected . . . I sit here after having read every page of this book, thankful for Shulman’s willingness to share his story. I am happy, too, knowing that his story is still being written.”—Debbie A. Atwood, Amazon Review
“This memoir made me feel a wide range of emotions. This man had such a tough start in life but managed to do what was necessary to ultimately succeed. I couldn’t help but feel sadness, sympathy, frustration, admiration and triumph for the author for overcoming incredible odds and ending up with the life he deserved.”—SDW, Amazon Review
Read more reviews . . .
A portion of the book proceeds will be donated to Hillsides Organization: “a premier provider dedicated to improving the overall well-being and functioning of vulnerable children, youth, and their families.”
As a newborn, Howard Shulman lost a good part of his face to a staph infection. After his parents left him and he was made a ward of New Jersey, he spent his early childhood confined to a hospital. Years later, a veteran of the foster care system and a homeless dropout, Howard did what he had to do to turn his life around . . . READ MORE