24 December, 2013
Book Review: The World's Strongest Librarian
From Goodreads: Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6'7" when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette's tics escalated to nightmarish levels.
Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission through strength-training.
Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City's public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette's.
The World's Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living.
Thoughts: I picked this up on recommendation from a friend. Josh Haragarne is a 6ft7 librarian with Tourette's. He is also a Morman (somewhat lapsed) and a weight lifter. This book explores his journey with Tourette's, it's increasing effect on his life and his search for a way to control it.
Having read this book, I'd love to meet Josh. While he has obviously had tough points in his life and his fair share of struggles, he has also maintained a great sense of humour. The stories of people in the library made me laugh out loud - mostly because I've had fairly similar experiences and conversations while working in libraries myself. His honesty about his faith, both at full belief and as it waivers was refreshing and incredibly non judgmental. This is a really wonderful read.