From this book’s Amazon description: “A funny and uplifting story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight lifting.” What’s not to like? Here’s what appealed to me about each part of that summary:
FUNNY: Josh Hanagarne is a natural comedian. His panache for characterization and anecdote are evident on nearly every page, and his memoir is filled with plenty of amusing characters and anecdotes–most chapters start with stories about his work in libraries, which reminded me of the McSweeney’s feature “Dispatches From a Public Librarian,” which I also loved.
UPLIFTING: This is no Hallmark movie. There’s an unvarnished–but still generally lighthearted–feel to this story that does leave you feeling positive about things.
MORMON: Spoiler: Josh ends the book not active in the church, but he is never bitter about it; there’s no axe to grind here. Instead, all of his descriptions of Mormons are positive. He even relates a couple of earlier spiritual experiences and doesn’t try to downplay them–they’re still very real to him. That’s rare and wonderful. Alas, his only references to the Book of Mormon are to lament how boring it is, though.
TOURETTE’S: Josh handles the telling of his experiences with Tourette’s with the same deft narrating that strengthens his humor as well.
BOOKS: I’ll love most anything that name drops as many great titles as lovingly as this book does. Josh has some great taste. I also loved his ecstatic passion for libraries.
WEIGHT LIFTING: Just as with the humor, religion, and Tourette’s, his stories of working out are enthusiastically entertaining, especially the segments towards the end of the book with his main trainer, a perfectly amusing, realistic, and inspiring character.
This is also a fine memoir about a young man starting a family, and loving every tedious and frustrating moment that entails. So really, this book has it all.