Educated, by Tara Westover

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Phew, the minute I finished this book I had to tell myself to unfurrow my brow, and lower my shoulders. Educated was recommended to me by a cottage reading buddy, who enjoys much the same type of books that I do. Then, this book blew up the social media bookish world. Every time I jumped onto Instagram, this book was in my feed.

Educated, by Tara Westover, is a heart-breaking memoir. It comes in at just over 300 pages, and it’s the story of her childhood, and path to an education. She first stepped into a classroom at the age of seventeen. Tara grew up in a Mormon household, whose parents were survivalists that lived an isolated life in the mountains in Idaho. Her childhood consisted of making herbal tinctures with her mother, and salvaging a junkyard with her father. Tara had seemed to have a conflicted feeling in her gut from a young age about her families beliefs, and decided to educate herself. She ends up at BYU, Cambridge, and Harvard, to eventually become Dr. Westover.

Whoa, this book was a hard read for me. Not in it’s style, just the content. There is child abuse, neglect, and just plain cult-like behaviour. Tara and her siblings seemed so trapped by their lifestyle, and ultimately deciding whether to complete the cycle. I had to read this novel in short blips of 25 pages here, and there, because some of the content was just unimaginable. This memoir made me feel grateful for my education, my privileged childhood, and loving parents and siblings… because Tara definitely did not have this.

First find out what you are capable of, then decide who you are.

I wish that Tara had waited another 20 years to write this novel. She’s a young woman, only 32 years old, and I think that hearing what affect her childhood also had on her future relationships, children (if she decided to have them or not), and also her career. I think that hearing this story without being so fresh may have given me a different perspective, and maybe her as well.

This memoir reminded me so much of The Glass Castle. I really did enjoy Tara’s voice, and think she is an incredible woman, who fought with such a force to become the woman she always felt she was. Maybe we will see a Part 2 in a couple decades. Lastly, Madeleine over on Top Shelf Text had pointed out to me that on Amazon her family gave scathing 1 star reviews to her memoir… something to check out if you are interested.

Anywho, until next time, happy reading!

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2 thoughts on “Educated, by Tara Westover

  1. I completely agree. I found it absolutely awe-inspiring that she came out of what she did and has already made the life for herself that she has. It certainly takes away every excuse there is for those of us who have a much more typical upbringing and lifestyle. My hope is that she’ll another volume when she is 10-20 years older to see how she able to work through relationships and other situations besides her education after being subject to such a distorted view of family and loyalty. Ugh, but some of those moments, the fire and the medical treatments….I had to skim over them. I’m not usually squeamish, but those put me on edge!

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