Educated, a Memoir by Tara Westover
Despite the title of the book, “educated” is not a word that describes the young Tara Westover. Of public schools, her father declares, “I may as well surrender my kids to the devil himself.” An extreme Mormon and a passionate, paranoid survivalist, Dad isn’t a fan of home schooling either, but instead puts his kids to work in his junkyard as soon as they are big enough to haul scrap. It is dangerous, exhausting work that leaves little time for learning.
But Tara manages to pass the ACT and is admitted to Brigham Young University. There she first learns about the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, and aspirin. Although her father belittles her (“whore” is his favorite slur) and ultimately disowns her, she carries on with her education, eventually earning a PhD in history from Cambridge University in 2014.
But for all the abuse, Tara still yearns for her family’s acceptance. In one poignant moment, she tells her old friend Charles how she’s lost them.
He listened quietly, then let out a long sigh and said, “Have you ever thought that maybe you should just let them go?”
I hadn’t, not once. “It’s not permanent,” I said. “I can fix it.”
Tara never fixes her relationship with her family, but she finally moves on.
And you think you have challenges! An amazing story.
(Not unlike The Glass Castle but Tara’s parents are mean rather than merely delusional.)
What Other Reviewers Say
Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor and author of Political Tribes: “Breathtaking, heart-wrenching, inspirational—I’ve never read anything like this. Educated tells the story of a young girl’s escape from violence and emotional prison. It is about the love of family and the pain of family both, the ferocity of the human spirit, and the power of education to change lives. Educated is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.”
Who Wrote It
Tara Westover was born in Idaho in 1986. She received her BA from Brigham Young University and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned a MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge and the following year was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She was awarded a PhD in history from Cambridge University in 2014. Educated is her first book.