Educated: A Memoir

Educated: A Memoir

An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge UniversityTara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peac...

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Title:Educated: A Memoir
Author:Tara Westover
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Edition Language:English

Educated: A Memoir Reviews

  • Tammy

    Knowledge is power and Educated is a powerful memoir.

  • Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

    Author Tara Westover first went to school at the age of 17 much to the dismay of her survivalist parents. Prior to that she never attended school: college would be her first experience with formal education. Not only was going to college a way to get an education, but it also served as an escape from an turbulent family life.

    Westover would grapple with being away at school and not being an obedient daughter; she felt the constant pull towards home and sought its acceptance. Ev

    Author Tara Westover first went to school at the age of 17 much to the dismay of her survivalist parents. Prior to that she never attended school: college would be her first experience with formal education. Not only was going to college a way to get an education, but it also served as an escape from an turbulent family life.

    Westover would grapple with being away at school and not being an obedient daughter; she felt the constant pull towards home and sought its acceptance. Even during very unhealthy times she still could not release her home life’s hold on her: to which she couldn’t fully emerge herself in to her new surroundings. It would be a long journey until Westover would embrace her own understandings of the world around her and not the ones her family decided for her.

    To read my full review:

    I truly hope Tara’s story is heard around the world and that she achieves critical acclaim. I will be shouting my recommendation from the rooftops for all to hear!

  • Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog:

    “There’s a world out there, Tara,” he said. “And it will look a lot different once Dad is no longer whispering his view of it in your ear.”

    The above quote is true, in a sense, for all children but more so in certain families. This was one of the most captivating memoirs I have ever read. Ideas can be dangerous, and children are nothing if not always at the mercy of their parents. They are our Gods, they rule the universe until we are able to ful

    via my blog:

    “There’s a world out there, Tara,” he said. “And it will look a lot different once Dad is no longer whispering his view of it in your ear.”

    The above quote is true, in a sense, for all children but more so in certain families. This was one of the most captivating memoirs I have ever read. Ideas can be dangerous, and children are nothing if not always at the mercy of their parents. They are our Gods, they rule the universe until we are able to fully think and decide for ourselves, but how do you do that when you’ve been conditioned? What about being kept out of school, taught to distrust everyone that doesn’t share your parents beliefs? Here is the truth, when your world is small and contained you are so much easier to control, to manipulate. Maybe all parents poison the minds of their children with their ideology, often not meaning too. We can’t be right all the time, and aren’t as progressive as we imagine. Every parent has allowed their prejudices to bleed into their children, well meaning or not- born out of fear or from horrible experience that colored our thoughts and those things can wreak havoc for life on our children, carried well into adulthood. How do we purge the rot and nurture the seeds of good our parents have placed inside of us? As with all of us, Tara Westover spent much of her life sifting through her education, life lessons, religious beliefs, etc. A child of survivalists, believing the end of times is always around the corner, forced to prep endlessly, that the rest of the world is full of sin, forbidden to be seen or treated by doctors (because God and nature heals, not man) barred from school (because it’s brainwashing) her father is first and foremost a faithful servant of God. Early on he has episodes, everyone must fall in line to his demands, even her mother forced into midwifery and healing. Her brother is brutally abusive, and abuse is something no one really understands until they’ve lived through it. Good, Bad… how do you make that separation with nothing to compare it to? You can only dissect things with what you are aware of, what do you do when it’s been drilled into you that all you can trust is your family, forced to view the entire world as ominous and evil?

    Tara, of course has an inborn feeling of right and wrong and an intelligence beyond what is ‘acceptable’ but there is a struggle with religion and the love she feels for her family. While her father has spent his life sure the rest of the world is a threat, out to brainwash godly people he himself is guilty of such. Be it an unamed illness in him or manical faith, a label changes nothing when behavior is enabled and beyond anyone’s control. Yes, any sane person would be horrified by the things she and her siblings were forced to do, things even strong grown men would be hardpressed to take on, and why does she see it through? Because parents are in control, there is no other option, and later to protect others. It does dawn on her that her life is hardscrabble and brutal, and as quoted above, when one of her brothers seeks a different way of life and escapes (which is a mean feat) she finds her own way out.

    Being out is a loaded thing too. Chosing anything other than the life her father has mapped out for his children is to be excommunicated! It’s siblings having to chose sides, it’s relying solely on oneself. Tara is one hell of a strong woman, and the madness of it is her parents, in all their outrageous expectations and teachings still are a part of the reason she turned out the way she did. What a thing to chew on! We become, either in spite of or because of, don’t we. We discard what’s been forced upon us, embrace it, or ulter it until the fit is right. Even the most horrific of things we have survived are a part of our evolution, so to speak.

    Tara loves her parents, there is no doubt but that doesn’t mean she can’t see their flaws. It’s a miracle anyone survived her father and his ideas, and her mother- because she allowed it, she took part in it. The dizzying moments come when things do turn out, when her parents have success or share a scrap of tenderness, that’s the confusion for her. Surely, if they are right about this than maybe she is the bad one?

    I can’t even begin to do justice to this memoir, it’s so hard to review them anyway as you feel like you have someone’s life in your hands, such an over-exaggeration I know, but really, this is a raw account of Tara Westover’s heartbreaking and inspiring struggle to free herself. Do not be fooled by the cover, it isn’t just about education nor off the grid survivalists and religion. I couldn’t put it down, and spent so much time collecting flies with my mouth gaping open in shock. There is a lingering sadness inside of me, even for her brother whom wronged Tara in so many ways, and that is how it is for her.I could write paragraphs about everything I felt and thought along the journey of this memoir, but the best I can do is tell others to read it! I hope there is another book one day, she is someone you long to check in on, that you’re rooting for. I don’t think I could have found my way as she found hers, it takes courage and something more that so many of us are missing. It’s so much easier to play possum and just accept the devil you know, but I kept hearing ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ and ‘rely on yourself’. She sure did!

    Yes, a must read for 2018!

    Publication Date: February 20, 2018

    Random House

  • Liz

    I grew up with my nose perpetually in a book. So, the idea of not being able to go to school, of being deprived of an education, hit me really hard. It was hard for me to grasp that things I take for granted, like knowing what the Holocaust was or who MLK, Jr. was, were black holes to Tara.

    Tara Westover is the child of a religious fanatic, someone who sees the government as pure evil. And by government, he means schools, hospitals, vaccines, seat belts, car insurance, etc. Everything we think o

    I grew up with my nose perpetually in a book. So, the idea of not being able to go to school, of being deprived of an education, hit me really hard. It was hard for me to grasp that things I take for granted, like knowing what the Holocaust was or who MLK, Jr. was, were black holes to Tara.

    Tara Westover is the child of a religious fanatic, someone who sees the government as pure evil. And by government, he means schools, hospitals, vaccines, seat belts, car insurance, etc. Everything we think of as civilization. His family awaits the Days of Abomination. There is a similarity here to The Glass Castle. Once again, we see how a mentally unbalanced father holds sway over an entire family. He thinks he speaks for God. Tara struggles with the knowledge that for her to go to school will mean a total separation from her father because he will never acknowledge that his ideas are not the correct ones.

    Parts of this book are cringeworthy. I found myself shaking my head that folks would allow severe suffering rather than a trip to the hospital or the use of real medicine. I’ll warn you that some of these sections are not for the faint of heart. The descriptions are sickening.

    I know little to nothing about the Mormon faith. Certainly, the faith of this family is not the true Mormon faith. But you get glimpses enough to also realize that there is a strong anti-woman bias in the faith and that women are definitely second class citizens. Broodmares more than humans on a par with men.

    This book doesn’t sugarcoat things. It’s not an education makes everything better kind of story. Tara continues throughout the book to struggle to find her way, to stand up for her beliefs. Hell, to find her own beliefs.

    This is an amazing book. It makes you realize how easy your life is. And how strong folks like Tara are to be able to rise above their beginnings and be able to fight back against the attempts of family to hold them down.

    I’m willing to bet this book makes it onto a lot of best of 2018 lists. It will certainly be on mine. Highly recommend!

    My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  • Jennifer Blankfein

    Follow my reviews on booknationbyjen.wordpress.com

    The author’s coming of age in Educated is incredible, tragic, praiseworthy and monumental. From a young girl loving and believing everything her parents tell her to questioning their logic and actively pursuing different answers and other ways of thinking, Tara Westover has the inherent desire to know more. Reminiscent of The Glass Castle, Tara lives with her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, and similar to Leah Remini’s account of h

    Follow my reviews on booknationbyjen.wordpress.com

    The author’s coming of age in Educated is incredible, tragic, praiseworthy and monumental. From a young girl loving and believing everything her parents tell her to questioning their logic and actively pursuing different answers and other ways of thinking, Tara Westover has the inherent desire to know more. Reminiscent of The Glass Castle, Tara lives with her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, and similar to Leah Remini’s account of her time as a scientologist in Troublemaker, Tara begins to realize all she is told may not be the truth and although she is fiercely loyal to her parents and siblings she feels trapped and begins to question their nonconventional, way of life.

    Growing up working in a junkyard with her dad, helping her mom with her herbs and fighting off her violent brother, it is shocking, admirable and hopeful to hear about Tara’s experiences as she takes the initiative to study her way to a decent grade on the ACT, ultimately getting herself in to college and beyond. Growing up with some mormon values, anti-government, no schooling, never visited a doctor, and spending days preparing for the end of the world, her naivety is expected but concurrently astounding; she had never taken a test before, didn’t understand a reading assignment of a chapter meant you needed to actually read the words on the pages, had no idea what the Holocaust was; she had virtually no knowledge of the world outside of her family, the mountain and what her parents told her.

    Westover’s account was enriched with surprisingly intelligent, sophisticated and well written prose. (I kept thinking how she never went to school until college and how for me, in the world I live in, formal education in the formative years seems crucial at the time children are developing. Clearly one can catch up on reading and writing skills and learn curriculum later on, but the social interaction, independence and decision making tactics we learn in a school environment, providing experiences, may be more important.) Her devotion and loyalty to her large family, her abusive brother and her controlling father in particular, caused personal conflict and forced Tara to make painful decisions which allowed her to flourish but continued to leave her with questions.

    “When I was a child, I waited for my mind to grow, for my experiences to accumulate and my choices to solidify, taking shape into the likeness of a person. That person, or that likeness of one, had belonged. I was of that mountain, the mountain that had made me. It was only as I grew older that I wondered if how I had started is how I would end – if the first shape a person takes is their only true shape.”

    Tara takes us through the complexity of her relationships, and when thinking about her father and his strength and conviction as a leader of the family, it makes me think, aside from his mental illness, he came from a place of love. We all work with what we have, and if what we have is limited and we are not open to learning more, we can appear to be stubborn and ill informed, making poor choices. An open mind and a thirst for learning can bring people together, enlighten and revitalize. A small mind with no will to become more educated and hear other opinions can lead to either submission (drinking the Kool Aid) or conflict and rebellion. Tara loved her parents and as she became educated, she was able to see their small mindedness and unfortunately that disparity broke them apart.

    Educated is a powerful account of Tara Westover’s life, from living as a survivalist on a mountain in Idaho to attending Bringham Young University, Harvard and Cambridge and earning a PhD. She is extremely accomplished and a wonderful writer. Educated is available February 20th.

  • Morgan Tallman

    This book was a whirlwind of emotions. I had so many feelings while reading this book, and I could not put it down. I needed to know what happened to Tara next. I keep wanting to say that I loved this book, but this book was someone's real life and I can't say I loved this book because of that. Because someone went through every awful thing that happened during this book, and I can't love that. I cannot love another person's pain. I can; however, love that Tara was brave enough to put out her st

    This book was a whirlwind of emotions. I had so many feelings while reading this book, and I could not put it down. I needed to know what happened to Tara next. I keep wanting to say that I loved this book, but this book was someone's real life and I can't say I loved this book because of that. Because someone went through every awful thing that happened during this book, and I can't love that. I cannot love another person's pain. I can; however, love that Tara was brave enough to put out her story. I can love that Tara persevered through all the pain and trials she's been through so far in her life. I can love Tara's courage and endurance. I can love the strength Tara has. So I love this book for it's ending, for Tara's personality and future. For Tara's courage. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, and opening my eyes even more to the world around me.

  • Diane S ☔

    She was the youngest of seven, one sister, five brothers. Raised on a mountain top in Idsho, by a survivalist father and midwife mother . Of the Mormon religion, her father preached the coming of the end days, intrusion by the government, built a bomb shelter, stockpiled fuel, food, guns. He ruled with an iron fist, the word of God and the family fell in line. Though there was another factor in her father's psyche that she wouldn't understand or figure out until much later. There were no doctor

    She was the youngest of seven, one sister, five brothers. Raised on a mountain top in Idsho, by a survivalist father and midwife mother . Of the Mormon religion, her father preached the coming of the end days, intrusion by the government, built a bomb shelter, stockpiled fuel, food, guns. He ruled with an iron fist, the word of God and the family fell in line. Though there was another factor in her father's psyche that she wouldn't understand or figure out until much later. There were no doctor visits, no immunizations, no formal schooling, no friends other than family, so many things not allowed. They were in effect totally off the grid. Yet, somehow this young woman manages to educate herself, pull herself out of the morass of the paranoia her father fed on and used to control the family.

    When I read books like these, people despite all odds to the contrary that manage to overcome so much adversity and rise to meet and supercede lives challenges, I am awed. The things one reads in this book are unbelievable, difficult to assimilate, and yet they happened. The struggles that Tara had to overcome are written without excess emotion, though in her words you do realize just how hard this struggle was and is still. Her journey, not without many steps back, at times literally tore her apart. I always wonder why and how some people are able to pull themselves out and above these situations, while some cannot, as is apparent in her own family. Where do they find their strength of will?

    My first five star read of the year, and I have nothing but admiration and respect for this young woman, who is a formidable person indeed. I hope she continues to find the peace she needs, and is able to resolve her relationship with her family.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Carol
  • Lisa

    EDUCATED

    Tara Westover

    MY RATING ⭐⭐⭐⭐▫

    PUBLISHER Random House

    PUBLISHED February 20, 2018

    A gripping, heartbreaking memoir of a woman who, against all odds, overcomes immense family obstacles to gain an education, opening her eyes to a world she never knew existed.

    SUMMARY

    TARA WESTOVER never went to school, never saw a doctor and did not have a birth certificate. Her parents were Idaho survivalists, and wanted nothing to do with the government, schools or hospitals. She and her six brothers and one s

    EDUCATED

    Tara Westover

    MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️▫️

    PUBLISHER Random House

    PUBLISHED February 20, 2018

    A gripping, heartbreaking memoir of a woman who, against all odds, overcomes immense family obstacles to gain an education, opening her eyes to a world she never knew existed.

    SUMMARY

    TARA WESTOVER never went to school, never saw a doctor and did not have a birth certificate. Her parents were Idaho survivalists, and wanted nothing to do with the government, schools or hospitals. She and her six brothers and one sister lived off the land. Her mother was a midwife and healer and treated every family malady—cuts, burns, broken bones, and head trauma— with herbs and oils. At age 10, Tara is put to work savaging scrap metal from her father’s junkyard, a dangerous job with no consideration to safety. When one of Tara’s older brother becomes physical and mentally abusive to her, her parents turn a blind eye. At fifteen, Tara begins educating herself. She learned enough math and grammar to pass the ACT and be admitted to Brigham Young University at the age of 17. There she studied history and learned of events such as the civil right movement and the Holocaust for the first time. From Brigham Young her quest continued at Cambridge and Harvard, ultimately earning a PhD at the age of 27. Throughout her education Tara Westover experiences tremendous conflict between the awareness she gained from her education and her loyalty to her family.

    REVIEW

    My experience in reading EDUCATED was not without its own conflicts. This hard to forget story is both maddening and heartbreaking. It is both gripping and difficult to read. I wanted to reach out and shake Tara out of her silence of the torment and abuse she suffered. I wanted to put my arm around her and give her the confidence to yell and scream at those holding her down. I wanted to tell her to get out, and not to go back home again. She touched me with this book, and I hope it will be the salve she needs to heal. Perhaps she has finally found her voice. It’s truly amazing what Tara has been able to accomplish. My hat is off to her. I hope that someday she realizes the fault is not and was never with her.

    A father is suppose to protect and keep his children out of harms way, Tara’s did not. A mother is supposed to love and educate her children, Tara’s did not. A big brother is suppose to look out for his little sister. Tara’s did not. But now she’s educated and hopefully will break the cycle of abuse, denial and most of all, silence.

    Thanks to Netgalley, Random House and Tara Westover for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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