The World's Strongest Librarian is a non-fiction story about Josh’s struggle with Tourette Syndrome. I have a like/hate relationship with the book, so...moreThe World's Strongest Librarian is a non-fiction story about Josh’s struggle with Tourette Syndrome. I have a like/hate relationship with the book, so I’m settling on “it’s okay.” I really hope I can word why I feel this way so that you can understand where I’m coming from.
I'm going to get the negative out of the way so I can end on a positive note. Josh grew up Mormon. And, I know people, even of the same faith which I happen to be, don't have the same opinions, views, or beliefs. I'm definitely not naive enough to believe that. And, I know people lose their faith. It saddens me, but I know it's a part of life. The fact that Josh lost his faith didn't bother me. The fact that Josh had differing views or opinions about some things didn't bother me. What bothered me was the negative connotation his writing created surrounding Mormon doctrine.
I loved his funny anecdotes about how family scripture study never seems to go the way parents want it to or the fact that the scriptures can be very boring to read. I also love his anecdotes about those members who are so caught up in everything religious/spiritual, they can't have any fun because they think it isn't appropriate. And, I really loved how honest he was about how he felt about the fact that he was struggling and didn't know if he believed. It was raw and endearing because of all of his struggles.
At the same time, almost every time he introduced doctrine of the LDS church, he used words like "supposedly" or "allegedly." For example, Mormons believe that Joseph Smith had a vision of God, the father, and his son, Jesus Christ, as two separate personages in a grove of trees when he was fourteen. When Josh introduced this belief, he said something like, "allegedly Joseph Smith saw...." Instead of using allegedly, couldn't he have just left it out and then said something to the effect of, "I'm not sure I believe this, though"? That has much less negative connotation and it doesn't attack those who do believe the doctrine. At times, it felt like he was pandering to two crowds as if he didn't want to offend either the extremely religious or the other end of the spectrum. It felt very two-sided whether it was intentional or not.
Also, at the beginning, he says, "This is a work of nonfiction. I've re-created the majority of the dialogue, but it's all faithful to the substance of the conversations." Some of these conversations felt very contrived to address his needs or meet an unseen agenda. I'm not sure how to illustrate this because it was just a feeling I had.
Okay, enough of the bad and now for the good. Everything he talked about regarding Tourette's was very interesting. I feel like I learned a lot. I had preconceived notions of what Tourette's was and now I feel like I understand it much better than I did before. I feel bad for him and anyone with Tourette's. I'd hate not having control over my body. I can see why it makes things difficult.
I really liked most of his writing style (not including the supposedlys and allegedlys). He was very funny. His writing made his life interesting to read. I felt like I was reading a novel and not a memoir, which definitely helped with the entertainment factor.
I'm glad I read the book because of what I learned about Tourette's. But, truth be told, I'll never read this again.
CONTENT WARNING There’s some language in this book, especially the F-word. It didn't bother me too bad because he was quoting people when he used it. It helped establish those people's personalities.(less)
I absolutely loved Cut Me Free! The story, writing, everything about it was phenomenal!
JR Johansson wrote this story in a way that it wasn’t too graph...moreI absolutely loved Cut Me Free! The story, writing, everything about it was phenomenal!
JR Johansson wrote this story in a way that it wasn’t too graphic, but it still got the pain and sadness across. She brought some hope into the story so it wasn’t all depressing. And, she wrote believable characters that made you feel what they felt.
I felt so many emotions while reading this book. I was so sad for Piper, Sam, and Sanda. I was horrified that people could do this to someone and think that it was okay. I’m angry that people do this. I was scared that something would happen again. And, I was relieved when Piper and Sanda found each other.
Piper was a great character. I loved reading her perspective. It was truthful and hesitant. Because she didn’t have a normal upbringing she questioned herself and her motives. I felt so sorry for her. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her she was a good person.
I loved Cam. I loved that he took an interest in Piper and he could tell that she was scared and didn’t trust anyone. I loved that he pushed her, but not too hard because he knew she needed time to heal.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! The story was so intense. I wanted to finish it as soon as I started reading it. This is the first book in a long time that I stayed up later than my bedtime to finish.(less)
I had a really hard time with this book. I take things at face value and I can't often sift through others' unfiltered thoughts, especially when they...moreI had a really hard time with this book. I take things at face value and I can't often sift through others' unfiltered thoughts, especially when they go all over the place. The book felt very unorganized, which as it turns out is how grief manifests itself, but it was hard for me to follow and understand.
I read this as a recommendation from another grief book I'm reading by Dr. Alan Wolfelt. He recommended it to show how one person struggled through their grief. In that instance, it was insightful, but I didn't feel like I could relate to CS Lewis because I lost my mother not my lover. The feelings he had weren't the same I experienced, well maybe on a grander scale, but it was hard to put them together.
There was one thing I did like that CS Lewis said. It's at the beginning of the last chapter:
"Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape ... not every bend does. Sometimes ... you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago.... There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn't repeat."
I have felt very much like this since my mom passed away, and it's nice to see that others have felt that way too, that I'm not unique in that way, that everyone who grieves goes through these same experiences just a little differently, that's all.(less)
I read this book as part of a bereavement group to help me with the loss of my mom.
I recognized many of the techniques Dr. Wolfelt used from my years...moreI read this book as part of a bereavement group to help me with the loss of my mom.
I recognized many of the techniques Dr. Wolfelt used from my years of counseling. It was validating to read about some of the coping mechanisms I had already learned for dealing with depression. And, the techniques he describes specifically for grief have helped me in this 8-week process.
Like any other self-help book, the recommendations and ideas laid out in the pages won't do the reader any good unless the reader is willing to listen, keep an open mind, and most importantly do the things suggested.
One of the most valuable things I've learned while reading this book is that no one should dictate my grief except me. No one should tell me to get over it, to move on, to be happy, etc. I should find people who are willing to listen without judgment when I have griefbursts. I also learned that there is no specific amount of time that grief should last. And, that no one really gets over grief; they simply learn to recognize it, work through it, and live with it.
I think in some cases, I was further along in my grief journey than the book was written for. And, my depression adds a complication to my grief. At times, it was hard to pinpoint where I was or how I felt, but that's normal anyway. Even with that said, reading this book was very rewarding and very validating. I'll definitely use it to continue my healing from my mom's passing, and I'll use it in the future when other loved ones die.(less)