I enjoy reading memoirs, but I wasn't sure what to expect from The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family. I viewed the book trailer, and Josh Hanagarne struck me as genuine, intelligent, and very interesting. That trailer was amazing, and definitely made me want to read the book.
I'm so glad I did! I expected to like this book just fine, but it was more than that; I was blown away. I loved it. Weight-lifting, Tourette's, and the Mormon faith? Those are things many readers may not know much about (myself included), and that leaves the possibility for the book to get bogged down by too much information. But Josh Hanagarne has an amazing way of telling readers what they need to know to know what he's talking about, and just a bit more to realize why it's relevant to his story. Even as much as I normally hate reading anything sports-related, I enjoyed every word of this book.
I love Hanagarne's sense of humor (especially when confronted by "shrill athiests" or in a community council meeting). We're about the same age, so I was tickled to see references to Dragonball Z, MC Hammer, and the Sweet Valley Twins. I think the majority of readers will identify with Josh's thirst for knowledge, that desire to learn "something about everything." I think they'll also appreciate his beautifully stated argument as to why "physical libraries always need to exist in some form."
Before reading this memoir, I had very superficial knowledge of Tourette Syndrome. It was such an eye-opener. I had no idea how severe Tourette's could be. Hanagarne describes the way his tics took control of his body with such clarity, I found myself feeling tense and frustrated as I read.
I took a lot of notes: I marked things I want to look into and learn more about, wrote down books I want to read, books I've already read long ago and want to rediscover, and quotes that inspired me. (Of course a book by a librarian is going to add to your to-be-read pile!)
There are no dysfunctional family stories in this memoir; Josh Hanagarne has an amazing support system. You will love his parents! Even during its heartbreaking moments, The World's Strongest Librarian is full of love, hope, perseverance, and humor. This is an encouraging read you do not want to miss.