Funny. Funny, funny, funny and with a very warm and inspirational, but low-key message. Also, nicely narrated by Stephen R. Thorne.
Some basics about Harnagarne: He has a very serious case of Tourette Syndrome. He works in a library. He’s 6 feet 7 inches tall. He’s loved books ever since his mother read to him in infancy. He was raised in a strict and very loving Mormon family in a small town in Utah. He seems like a very intelligent, funny and normal guy and the rest of the book shows that totally.
The Tourette’s Syndrome is the major thread in the book which reads like a novel in many ways. Hanagarne’s exhibits itself in tics and harsh verbal expressions – it is not a minor case.
The book is the story of how Josh managed to grow up, went through school, discovered girls, worked as a missionary, gets jobs, loses jobs, questions God and religion, goes to more college, etc. – it could be really, really boring but the irritation of Tourette and Hanagarne’s humor, along with the insights into books and faith/religion and family keeps it going.
One funny piece is when he describes Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian to the social worker who wants to know what he’s reading – the book is violent in the extreme but it’s also highly literary, symbolic, metaphorical, historical, etc. Josh’s synopsis is mostly violence – I think the social worker doesn’t quite understand. There are thousands of little scenes like that.
And the bits which take place in the library – a kind of frame to his past but more substantive in the last third of the book – are very interesting
regarding the daily (and not so daily) doings of a library and librarians as well as humorous. Hanagarne has a love of libraries and has high standards for them.
One of Hanagarne’s methods for keeping his syndrome (which he calls Misty (Miss T,) is working out with Kettle Bells – I’m not sure how effective hard workouts are for Tourettes Syndrome in general, there are papers available, but they seem to work for him.
Hanagarne takes the kettle bells seriously. He worked privately with Adam Glass, a professional weight trainer who had the idea he could actually “cure” Hanagarne. And the more Hanagarne worked at physical training the more control he had over the Tourette.
This is a memoir of a man who grew up in spite of a serious handicap, but with the support of a very loving family, solid religious background, a great wife, courage, an excellent sense of humor and time, overcame that and moved ahead with his life.