Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The World's Strongest Librarian

Last night I finished reading Josh Hanagarne's memoir
The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family. LOVED it.

I'd been in a slight reading rut again, having been disappointed by a few recent attempts at fiction reading and not finding any particularly redeeming memoirs. I read one memoir that was totally depressing so I decided not to review that one on here and then, needing something a bit more positive, I happened upon this one - the story of a man with a severe case of Tourette's who is also a devout Mormon, a husband, a dad, an extreme body builder (by my standards anyway) and a librarian at the Salt Lake City main library. Oh yeah, and he's a blogger and a writer. The least you can say about Josh Hanagarne is that he's well rounded.

Now here's why I liked this book so much. It was uplifting and you know, once in a while it's really nice to read a memoir about a bunch of nice people doing the right things instead of a dysfunctional pack of assholes, which is what most memoirs involve, including mine. Hanagarne is consistently funny and although he is very Mormon, he has a sense of humor about it and can throw in a few cuss words, so I appreciate that, plus you recall, I love those Mormons. I swear, if the theology wasn't so wackadoodle (sorry Mormons) I could definitely get with their program. I like their way of life, just not necessarily the beliefs behind it, but I can respect the faith of others and I like how Hanagarne describes his relationship with his religion and how he is unapologetic about what he believes. Although he is pretty darned devout, he doesn't jam it down a reader's throat and he doesn't come off as some nutcase religious fanatic at all. He seems like a cool guy and a really nice person who occasionally whoops and smacks himself in the face.

And that is the issue at the center of this memoir. Hanagarne has Tourette's and a very bad case of it and throughout the course of the book he learns to accept it, deal with it, control it and not let it define his entire life. I love that. I love the message that a condition or a disability shouldn't stop you from living a complete life and seeking the things you love. Reading this book put me in a better mood each night before bed and it made me happy. Read it.

If you're interested in checking out his blog, here it is. I'm about to head on over there and argue the merits of the book Night Film, which I decided against reviewing for various reasons that I'm going to tell him about, since his latest post is a review of it.


Char Hardt said...

I just finished a memoir that I think you might like. Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World by Shirley Hershey Showalter.

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