Educated by Tara Westover
Published by: Random House
Genre: Autobiography / Memoir
Release date: February 20th 2018
Source: Netgalley ARC
An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castleabout a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
Tara 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 peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
Raw, intense and honest; Educated is engaging retelling of an extraordinary upbringing. I could feel from every word, from every sentence how personal and authentic this tale was. It has been a long time since I read such a straightforward and shocking yet gripping and powerful book.
Untraditional childhood with no birth certificate or public school, being sheltered from world happenings and having almost zero knowledge of history, dealing with volatile family and their unconventional lifestyle... I couldn’t stop reading once Tara’s sheltered world clashed with the world out there when she entered school for the first time at the age of seventeen. Author didn’t take any shortcuts while writing her memoir and I ate it all up.
„I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create.“
For a debut, Educated has not only engaging content but also surprisingly beautiful prose. The writing flows easily and makes this book readable in the best way possible. I’m not sure if this book was a one time thing or not, but Tara Westover is definitely and author to look out for and I truly hope she tries her hand at writing a fiction as well.
I rarely read memoirs, mainly because I struggle with the lack of storytelling in them since memoirs are usually full of only-telling-no-showing writing style. However, this memoir reads like a novel and the fact that it describes real events only strengthens the reading experience. So even if you are strictly a novel reader like me, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you even though it is a nonfictional one. You won’t regret it!
DO YOU READ MEMOIRS?
ANY OTHER WORTH OF READING?