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


Booklist Reviews 2013 April #2
Josh Hanagarne is a remarkable man. He is a librarian, a follower of the Mormon faith, has Tourette's syndrome, and can deadlift 600 pounds. In this moving memoir, Hanagarne shows his readers what it is like to live with a severe form of Tourette's and how, with patience, love, and support from his family, he was able to build a rich, full life. With the onset of Tourette's, Hanagarne found a source of joy and delight and a welcome escape in books. He chronicles the increasing severity of his Tourette's, which forces him to leave his Mormon mission early and affects his pursuit of higher education. Hanagarne is open about his struggles, from his questioning of his faith, through the difficulties in his marriage, to his dogged determination to challenge himself to persevere and become a librarian. Throughout, his optimism and amusing, self-deprecating sense of humor shine through. An excellent and uplifting story on accepting and coping with lifelong disabilities, of particular interest to librarians. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #2
A jaunty memoir covering both the influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the torments of Tourette's syndrome. Hanagarne's coming-of-age was marred by the urge to blink and bark, hoot and yowl. The independent tics that still visit him trigger not only uncontrolled noises, but disconnected movements, which can be distressing and painful. Neither the brawny author's warm Mormon upbringing nor his assiduous weight training were sufficient to prevent the unwelcome, surprise visits by "Misty" ("Miss Tourette's"). Hanagarne's first crush was for Fern, heroine of Charlotte's Web. His love of reading--boys' books, girls' books, the complete works of Stephen King or Agatha Christie, among many others--provided refuge from the taunts of schoolmates, and that love has abided. His day job is appropriate: He is a librarian at Salt Lake City's public library, where Misty has little influence. Hanagarne is quite passionate about libraries, expressing more enthusiasm on the subject than he does on his relationship to his church. Mormon missionary work and higher education did not fit well with the recurring spasms; fitness training helped some. Even better was his marriage, an especially important part of the Mormon way of life. Now, since Tourette's has a genetic component, he worries about his young son. Filled with patently imaginary discourse, clever invented conversation and just a hint of the inspirational, this text on how the writer copes is surprisingly amiable. Along the way, readers will learn about the workings of LDS ministration and a puzzling physical disorder. A clever, affable story of one Mormon, his family, his vocation and his implacable ailment. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 December #1

A 6'7" librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library, Hanagarne has Tourette's syndrome. Nothing helped until a former U.S. Air Force tech sergeant taught him to control his tics through strength training. Big expectations.

[Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 January #4

This wildly quirky memoir of facing down his ferocious Tourette's tics follows Hanagarne, the son of a gold miner, from a bookish Mormon upbringing in Moab, Utah, to becoming a six-foot-four kettlebell-lifting librarian in Salt Lake City. First noticed by his well-meaning parents when he was in first grade, Hanagarne's tics and involuntary vocalizations grew steadily worse through adolescence, until the family finally got a diagnosis when the author was in high school, learning about Tourette's dopamine imbalances and the potential for various drugs. He began to see the dreaded condition as a kind of bodily parasite, with a separate identity he called Misty. Playing basketball and the guitar helped the rangy, overtall Hanagarne to deal with his physical itchiness; and after being forced to return early from his mission year in Washington, D.C., at age 19, when the disability nearly incapacitated him, he entered a long, restless spell of dropping out of school, sporadic employment, and periodic weight training. Hanagarne's account manages to be very gag-full and tongue-in-cheek, alternating with highly engaging current segments that take place in the urban library system where he works, besieged by noisy, importunate, rude--though mostly grateful--patrons. Moreover, the narrative is informed by Hanargarne's deep reading of Stephen King and others, and proves a testament to his changing faith, as he recounts his marriage and his wife's inability to conceive for many years, and their rejection by the Church of the Latter Day Saints for adoption. Reconciled with Tourette's, Hanagarne never let the disease get the upper hand. Agent: Lisa Dimona. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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