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

The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family - Josh Hanagarne Josh was six years old, onstage for the first time in the school’s Thanksgiving play when his parents noticed he was acting a little bit strangely. Attributing it to normal six-year-old restlessness his parents didn’t really question it. It wasn’t until he was a 6’7” 20 year-old that he was officially diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Josh went to numerous doctors and tried everything from Botox injections to paralyze his vocal cords to endless regimes of drug therapy. Nothing really worked to calm “Misty” (his pet name for the tics and vocalizations) until a strongman, himself suffering from autism, taught him control through strength training.

Through Josh’s entire life books were a mainstay. His parent’s encouraged reading with regular library visits and at home reading, which developed into a lifelong passion and eventually a career choice. Towering at 6’7”, with the body of a strength trainer Josh is probably the last person you would peg as a librarian. Josh’s tales about working at a library absolutely changed the way I think about librarians now. I had no idea it was such an interesting (people ask really odd questions) and varied (discretely telling an internet using patron he is not allowed to view porn in the library) occupation.

I absolutely fell in love with Josh’s parents. His mother and father came at parenting issues from opposite ends of the spectrum but met, happily, in the middle to always do what was best for their children. They helped Josh accept his illness but not treat it as a disability. His conversations with his mother over his choice of reading material made me laugh out loud. His mom rocks! I recently had a personal little trip down memory lane about libraries and my own reading habits; so when I received the notice that my reserve on this book came in this week it was coincidental (as I find things so frequently are). Josh and his family are members of the LDS Church and the worst of his symptoms appeared while he was away from home on his personal mission. Yes, there is much information included about the Mormons, but no so much that it deterred, for me personally, from the story. I never felt it reached the point of being “preachy”.

Mr. Hanagarne is an excellent storyteller and I enjoyed this book immensely. A story about Tourette’s, love, faith, family, strength and books, told in a humorous and thoroughly readable way.