Rating: 4 / 5
From a young age, Josh has battled Tourette’s Syndrome. Although there is no known cure, Josh has tried numerous treatments and medications to temper the symptoms, such as weight lifting, seeing a chiropractor, and kettlebell training. Josh documents the trials and tribulations of trying to keep his tics and verbal outcries at bay. Tourette’s Syndrome is a prevalent affliction in Josh’s life, but The World’s Strongest Librarian delves into so much more. Josh writes about his faith, including his struggle to fully embrace the Mormon practice, as well as his marriage to Janette and their struggle to become parents.
The World’s Strongest Librarian is filled with heart and laughter. I think about how I would feel if I were in his situation, and have to say that he handles it way better I would. His writing is frank and refreshing. I loved reading about his adventures in dating and well as his more colorful experiences working as a librarian. And as someone who is unfamiliar with Tourette’s, this memoir was informative and really opened my eyes and gave me a deep understanding of Tourette’s. It definitely wasn’t a “woe is me” or “pity me” book, but Hanagarne writes with a, “this is me, this is how I cope with Tourette’s, and this is my life.” Hanagarne is witty, insightful, and someone I could see myself having a drink with. A big bonus is his love of books and his insatiable curiosity. I firmly believe that libraries are essential to communities, and I love that he agrees. Although libraries in general are supposed to be quiet, I love it when I see boisterous children looking for books.
The World’s Strongest Librarian is a fantastic and entertaining read. Hanagarne writes in way where even though I never dealt with Tourette’s or anyone with Tourette’s, I could empathize with his struggle and understand his pain. And while doing that, he still made me laugh. The World’s Strongest Librarian is about Hanagarne embracing his life, and ultimately taught me a bit about embracing my own.