Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The World's Strongest Librarian

The World's Strongest Librarian
A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
By Josh Hanagarne
Gotham May 2013
291 pages
From the publisher for review

The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

Josh Hanagarne is a librarian. He's also a Mormon...well, a lapsed Mormon. He's a husband and a father. He's an athlete. And he has been living with Tourette's Syndrome since he was six years old. In this incredible memoir, Josh tells readers how all of those things come together to create one complicated, beautiful life. 

I don't think this is a book I would have picked up on my own. Although many of the bloggers I trust were raving about it, I couldn't see myself really getting anything out of a book about a weight-lifting Mormon librarian. I was seriously wrong. Josh Hanagarne has a gift for story and he tells his own with such humor and humanity that you can't help but be drawn right in. 

Each chapter is ordered by the Dewey decimal system, of course. Most of them begin in the library, as Hanagarne reveals his literary loves and some of the bizarre things he sees as a librarian. He then delves into his life as a small child living a life of wonder and imagination, as a young man on his mission for the Mormon church, and as an adult looking to control a disease that is wreaking havoc on his life. 

It would be easy for Hanagarne to look for our pity as he struggles with physical tics, a voice he can't control, and infertility. But he's not looking for our sympathy. Instead, he shows readers how the support of family can hold us up in our darkest moments. Some of the best moments in this book are Hanagarne's memories of his happy childhood with his supportive parents and a merry gang of siblings. 

He also has a heart for others trying to live with Tourette's Syndrome. As he worries that he might pass on the disease, he enumerates the successes and failures that he has had with various medical treatments. In the end, he found the most success with training his body through vigorous weight lifting and training with a former Air Force sergeant. Who knew exercise could be so hilarious? 

This book is a delight to read. It's the perfect choice for librarians, people who love libraries, Mormons, weight lifters, people living with Tourette's or people living with people living with Tourette's. Actually The World's Strongest Librarian is for anyone who loves a great story and an unforgettable narrator. 


To the ladies and gents of the FTC: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

10 comments:

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    1. Definitely! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  2. I loved this book! LOVED it :) I'm super glad that you enjoyed it Lindsey!

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    1. I should have listened to your glowing review earlier! :)

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  3. I will be checking this one out. It sounds like an emotional and positive read. Great review!
    Happy Reaidng,
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

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    1. Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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  4. OK, I'm now officially convinced. I was sent a review copy of this but have put off reading it, but your review has made me excited about this book for the first time :)

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    1. Yay! I'm glad my review was the one to convince you! :)

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  5. I've been thinking about this book. The fact that you say you wouldn't have picked it up on your own makes me want to read it more. Thanks for the review!

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    1. It was one of those very pleasant surprises! I hope you enjoy it if you end up picking it up. :)

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