Shulman is stuck in a bit of a rut. He is not having a midlife
crisis, exactly; it is just that he and his wife are drifting
apart, his children are grown and gone, his business is not doing
so well, and he can't seem to keep the pounds off. The way he
figures it, he has been losing and gaining the same 30 pounds since
his bar mitzvah --- enough for a whole other Shulman. To put some
focus in his life and shed some weight, Shulman decides to train to
run the New York City Marathon. Here, at the crossroads of his
life, he must make decisions about who he wants to be and what he
wants to do. It is also here that he meets the other Shulman (T. O.
Shulman) in the flesh.
Alan Zweibel's latest, THE OTHER SHULMAN, is a hilarious and sweet
look at middle age and one man's choice to fight against mediocrity
and complacency. The 26 chapters in the book represent the 26 (.2)
miles of the race, and Shulman, as he runs around the city from
Staten Island to Central Park, thinks back to when the Other
Shulman, the fantasy Shulman, thin and more successful, was just
that --- a fantasy.
In training for the marathon, Shulman is forced to confront the
realities of his life, and not just his sad physical shape. He
meets Maria, a beautiful young woman who soon becomes his training
partner. What does his attraction to Maria say about his marriage?
His trainer, Coach Jeffrey, teaches Shulman about patience,
persistence and to actually enjoy running, not just to see it as a
means to an end. But will Shulman be able to call upon Coach
Jeffrey's wisdom during the race? And, most importantly, will
Shulman be victorious over his less than benevolent double, the
His first encounter with the Other Shulman occurs as Shulman is
running, lost in his own neurotic, wandering thoughts. Soon, he
sees another runne