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.
Tourette Syndrome, strength training, Mormonism, and literature. Doesn’t that sound like the craziest combo of topics you ever heard of? Guess what? It absolutely works. It all comes together beautifully in one of the best memoirs I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
Hanagarne has a comedic gift. None of the topics that he covers are supposed to be funny but I found myself snort laughing throughout much of this book. The section in which he describes putting the stud in bible study nearly made me fall off my chair. Hanagarne faces his medical condition and other obstacles with humor and inspiring grace.
As I read this book I kept trying to read sections aloud to people around me. “Listen to this!” “Oh! Let me read you this section about his parents!” (I seriously want to take his folks out to dinner, they sound like marvelous people.)
I’m not a Mormon. I don’t have Tourette Syndrome. Yet I felt such a connection with Josh Hanagrane. It might be his love for the written word. It might be that he also read Stephen King when he was much too young to do so. He’s a regular guy that loves his family and wants to do the best he can by them. We can all relate to that. In addition, he can tell a damn fine story.
It was a privilege to read The World’s Strongest Librarian. I can’t recommend it highly enough.