Educated

Educated

A Memoir

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
224
43
4
 …
"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. 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. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform 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. A coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it. Tara Westover graduated from Brigham Young University in 2008, subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins, 2018.
Edition: First Canadian ed.
ISBN: 9781443452489
Branch Call Number: 270.092 Westo
Characteristics: x, 334 p.

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
k
kaitoryn
Aug 01, 2020

I don't ever read memoirs, but I've been reading mainly bestsellers lately, so Educated just had to be on my to-read list.
To put it simply, reading Educated was an eye-opening experience. I have never encountered a family or even a single individual like Tara Westover's family. I've seen Facebook posts praising essential oils as though they have holy powers or posts condemning vaccines, but even they are not as close to the absurdity that curses the Westovers. With that in mind, it was absolutely enthralling to watch Tara detach from her roots and her family's beliefs as she pursued higher forms of education.
Although the memoirs frequently highlight the stories that negatively portray her family members, I especially liked how Tara also gifts us moments of tenderness and familial love. Even a simple phrase of dialogue that could have been easily omitted are left in the story, reminding readers that while her family can be absolutely nuts, they are still the people close to Tara's heart. Ultimately, this assists readers with understanding Tara's struggle to acknowledge the problems of her family and her eventual detachment from them.
Without going into excessive detail, reading Tara's life journey was captivating from beginning to end, and as its title suggests, Educated has the potential to inspire its readers to pursue an education, whether from school or simply from the world around them.

p
pateljh
Jul 29, 2020

This is a heart wrenching memoir of a little girl who escapes her Misogynist father, brother and a compliant mother to find her own world and education. It is still surprising that in spite of this dysfunctional family, she still loves them all for a long time until the end. She loves her home and surrounding mountains. The writing is superb.

Only questions I had for her are: Why the author never questioned the blind faith of her family when their God punishes them again and again! - two major car accidents, fire to a brother and father, major accidents at work sites. Another curiosity I had was her mother, a conservative Mormon, adopts the Eastern religious origin concept of Chakra in he practice! May be she didn't know that Chakra came from Hindu/Buddhist writing!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakra

t
trickbag22
Jul 25, 2020

I cant believe I missed this when it came out but am happy to have read it now. Tara does not dilute the family ways and experiences. I found it hard to believe she did not realize her family was not normal but that is because I did not grow up completely indoctrinated from birth with little access to other opinions. I often had to remind myself of this. But because I did, It helped me to understand how her feelings and emotions were constantly at war. The influence of family cannot ever be discounted.

d
djoshi2354
Jul 22, 2020

borrowed it from english teacher

k
karyn8787
Jul 21, 2020

Educated by Tara Westover is an inspiring memoir detailing Westover’s childhood and her journey to receiving education and finding her place in the world. Westover grew up in rural Idaho with limited connection to people outside of her family. Her parents were extreme survivalists and held many traditional beliefs. It was principles that led to Westover never receiving a formal education until age seventeen and never stepping foot into a hospital for the vast majority of her childhood. However, Westover’s relentless passion and determination led to her educating herself, getting into college, and even going to Harvard and Cambridge for her Ph.D. It was these experiences and opportunities that gave her the courage to finally set herself free from a life and family that had only hurt her.
Educated is easily one of my favorite books of all time. This memoir sheds light on a side of America that so many of us are unfamiliar with. For me, I thought this sort of survivalist style of living was a relic of the past. What is most inspiring is that despite all of the obstacles thrown at Westover that would normally be life-crushing, she finds the hope and courage to persist and work towards a goal that seems utmost unattainable. This book will make you laugh and cry and scream and feel every emotion there is to feel. Westover shares the lowest of low points in her life and every step she took to achieve all that she has done. Plotline aside, Westover has an amazing way with words and submerses you into her life and story. Educated is a must-read book!

b
bricky
Jul 18, 2020

While I did finish the book I found it quite hard to read as time went on. Such an incredibly dysfunctional family. I found myself hoping that something terrible would happen to one particular brother. Unfortunately the dysfunction will continue for this family as several of them have their own families and the cycle will most likely continue.

d
donnapalatinus
Jul 11, 2020

This book is moving and inspiring and amazing. It is hard to believe how Tara could even survive her childhood. I loved hearing about her growth as an academic and her slow climb toward normalcy and success. I did not get any sense that she was bragging about being a poor room-mate. If one realizes how isolated she was in her dysfunctional childhood, then it is totally understandable that she would need to learn all the social graces by trial and error. I would love to read a sequel.

k
kblouch
Jul 06, 2020

11-21

z
zipread
Jun 27, 2020

I can’t be as eloquent as some of the other reviewers. I can only say powerful and immensely sad. Unfortunately I think families as disfunctional is this one; as plagued by mental illness as this one; by generations as scarred as this one are entirely too common as we would give credence. And yet, in spite of all of this strong, whole individuals like the author can still be forged in this furnace.
To say this is a great book is a massive understatement. The words she uses are almost poetic in the sentiments she evokes. The aura of dread and fear she constructs around the protagonist is palpable: we share the dread of what waits around the corner.
This book does end. Eventually. But it end too soon. There are too many un-answered questions: the conclusion comes too quickly: there should have been more.
Having written her memoir, one waits to see what Westover writes next. It’ll be well worth waiting for for sure.

c
Cidherman
Jun 21, 2020

Tara Westover's memoir, EDUCATED, is easily the best memoir I've ever read. I think it also has a place among my favorite books , of any genre. The story of Tara's upbringing and lack of preparation for entering school for the first time, as a college freshman, is brutally honest and beautifully written. There is no ego in her account of growing up at the foot of a mountain in Idaho, raised by a zealot father who practiced a feverish and unbelievably harsh version of Mormonism. As the youngest of seven children, to say her upbringing was unconventional, widely understates the truth.

This book should make readers kinder and more considerate of people they do not know. Snap judgements about the character, intelligence, or motives of others should be avoided. Tara's remarkable journey shows how impossible it is to understand the character, or any other quality of a person you you meet for the first time, or only know superficially. We were all raised in a unique microcosm that serves as our frame of reference for the world. Tara entered college without ever having learned that she should wash her hands after using the bathroom. It didn't mean she was stupid, filthy or any of a dozen other adjectives. It meant only that she had never been taught to do so. We are each only as worldly and knowledgeable as our experiences. Assumptions are often wrong. Tara's book illustrates this over and over.

Even though she ever attended school, before college, and wasn't even homeschooled, Tara must surely be one of the most versatile and accomplished women alive today. She has a doctorate degree from Cambridge, but could easily deliver a baby, run a backhoe, write a paper on theology, or prepare herbal remedies from scratch.

What she could not do was surrender her own truth for her fathers delusions. She pays a steep and heavy price for choosing her own mind to clarify reality, instead of blindly accepting her fathers doctrine. That doctrine was a dangerous way to raise 7 children. That Tara and her siblings even survived childhood feels like a miracle, which is exactly what her father believed it was.. This man literally risked his childrens lives and limbs because God and God alone would determine the outcome, and the full extent of the injuries. In his predetermined world, there was no need to exercise caution to prevent injuries . Even at great heights, God was the net, and no safety harnesses or hard hats were were allowed, as that would show you didn't trust in God's will or willingness to intervene.

Risking your own life to test God's willingness to intervene is one thing, but Risking your family is a whole different kind of reckless. But... The powerless don't have a choice, and children don't choose their parents. This was the life Tara was born into.

Tara's story is amazing. If you love to read, this is one story you do not want to miss.

I think everyone should jump for a chance to read this book.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote
n
NadiaHathor
Oct 02, 2019

"The blessing was a mercy. He was offering me the same terms of surrender he had offered my sister. I imagined what a relief it must have been for her, to realize she could trade her reality - the one she shared with me - for his. How grateful she must have felt to pay such a modest price. I could not judge her for her choice, but in that moment I knew I could not choose it for myself. Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege, to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. 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. If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. This was the price I was being asked to pay, I understood that now. What my father wanted to cast from me wasn't a demon; It was me."

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

I am only seven, but I understand that it is this fact, more than any other, that makes my family different: we don’t go to school. Dad worries that the Government will force us to go but it can’t, because it doesn’t know about us. Four of my parents’ seven children don’t have birth certificates. We have no medical records because we were born at home and have never seen a doctor or nurse. * We have no school records because we’ve never set foot in a classroom. When I am nine, I will be issued a Delayed Certificate of Birth, but at this moment, according to the state of Idaho and the federal government, I do not exist. Of course I did exist. I had grown up preparing for the Days of Abomination, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

…all the decisions that go into making a life — the choices people make, together and on their own, that combine to produce any single event. Grains of sand, incalculable, pressing into sediment, then rock.
===

“ What’s college? ” I said. “College is extra school for people too dumb to learn the first time around,” Dad said.
===

“There’s two kinds of them college professors,” Dad said. “Those who know they’re lying, and those who think they’re telling the truth.” Dad grinned. “Don’t know which is worse, come to think of it, a bona fide agent of the Illuminati, who at least knows he’s on the devil’s payroll, or a high-minded professor who thinks his wisdom is greater than God’s.”

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

My strongest memory is not a memory. It’s something I imagined, then came to remember as if it had happened. The memory was formed when I was five, just before I turned six, from a story my father told in such detail that I and my brothers and sister had each conjured our own cinematic version, with gunfire and shouts. Mine had crickets. That’s the sound I hear as my family huddles in the kitchen, lights off, hiding from the Feds who’ve surrounded the house. A woman reaches for a glass of water and her silhouette is lighted by the moon. A shot echoes like the lash of a whip and she falls. In my memory it’s always Mother who falls, and she has a baby in her arms. The baby doesn’t make sense — I’m the youngest of my mother’s seven children — but like I said, none of this happened.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

One telling in particular has stayed with me. I am seven or eight and am in my room dressing for church. I have taken a damp rag to my face, hands and feet, scrubbing only the skin that will be visible.
===

How the paranoia and fundamentalism were carving up my life, how they were taking from me the people I cared about and leaving only degrees and certificates — an air of respectability — in their place. What was happening now had happened before. This was the second severing of mother and daughter. The tape was playing in a loop.
===
God couldn’t abide faithlessness, Dad said. That’s why the most hateful sinners were those who wouldn’t make up their minds, who used herbs and medication both, who came to Mother on Wednesday and saw their doctor on Friday — or, as Dad put it,” Who worship at the altar of God one day and offer a sacrifice to Satan the next. “These people were like the ancient Israelites because they’d been given a true religion but hankered after false idols.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

I had misunderstood the vital truth: that its not affecting me, that was its effect.
===
I was fifteen and I felt it, felt the race I was running with time. My body was changing, bloating, swelling, stretching, bulging. I wished it would stop, but it seemed my body was no longer mine. It belonged to itself now, and cared not at all how I felt about these strange alterations, about whether I wanted to stop being a child, and become something else.
===

Dad said that the Government had programmed the computers with a six-digit calendar, which meant the year had only two digits. “When nine-nine becomes oh-oh,” he said,” the computers won’t know what year it is. They’ll shut down.” “Can’t they fix it?” “Nope, can’t be done,” Dad said. “Man trusted his own strength, and his strength was weak. ”
===

I’d never learned how to talk to people who weren’t like us — people who went to school and visited the doctor. Who weren’t preparing, every day, for the End of the World.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

I was sixteen, had never taken an exam, and had only recently undertaken anything like a systematic education;
===
I began to study trigonometry. There was solace in its strange formulas and equations. I was drawn to the Pythagorean theorem and its promise of a universal — the ability to predict the nature of any three points containing a right angle, anywhere, always.
===

“ Tara can’t drive the crane,” Dad said. “It’ll take half the morning to teach her the controls, and she still won’t know what the hell she’s doing.” “But she’ll be careful,” Shawn said,” and I’m done falling off shit. ”
===
I am not sorry, merely ashamed.
===
I applied to BYU a week later. I had no idea how to write the application, so Tyler wrote it for me. He said I’d been educated according to a rigorous program designed by my mother, who’d made sure I met all the requirements to graduate.
===
Doctors were Sons of Perdition. Homeschooling was a commandment from the Lord.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

“Holocaust. “ I don’t know how long I sat there reading about it, but at some point I’d read enough. I leaned back and stared at the ceiling. I suppose I was in shock, but whether it was the shock of learning about something horrific, or the shock of learning about my own ignorance, I’m not sure.
===

As a child, I’d been aware that although my family attended the same church as everyone in our town, our religion was not the same. They believed in modesty; we practiced it. They believed in God’s power to heal; we left our injuries in God’s hands. They believed in preparing for the Second Coming; we were actually prepared.
===

I don’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to get a decent education as a child.
===
I’d earned A’s in every subject except Western Civ. I would get a scholarship for half of my tuition. I could go back.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

Rosa Parks. An image appeared of a policeman pressing a woman’s finger into an ink sponge. Dr. Kimball said she’d taken a seat on a bus. I understood him as saying she had stolen the seat, although it seemed an odd thing to steal.
===

The word and the way Shawn said it hadn’t changed; only my ears were different. They no longer heard the jingle of a joke in it. What they heard was a signal, a call through time, which was answered with a mounting conviction: that never again would I allow myself to be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand.
===

Algebra threatened to put an end to my scholarship. The professor spent every lecture muttering inaudibly as he paced in front of the chalkboard. I wasn’t the only one who was lost, but I was more lost than anyone else. Charles tried to help, but he was starting his senior year of high school and had his own schoolwork. In October I took the midterm and failed it.

j
jimg2000
Sep 12, 2019

The test was in front of me. The problems were compliant, pliable; they yielded to my manipulations, forming into solutions, one after the other. I handed in my answer sheet, then stood in the frigid hallway, staring up at the screen that would display my score. When it appeared, I blinked, and blinked again. One hundred. A perfect score.
===

My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.
===
I was sitting in Psychology 101 when the professor read the symptoms aloud from the overhead screen: depression, mania, paranoia, euphoria, delusions of grandeur and persecution. I listened with a desperate interest. This is my father, I wrote in my notes.
===
…a student asked what role mental disorders might have played in separatist movements. “I’m thinking of famous conflicts like Waco, Texas, or Ruby Ridge, Idaho,” he said.

View All Quotes

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
k
karyn8787
Jul 21, 2020

karyn8787 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

y
Yolandaunicorn
Feb 11, 2020

Yolandaunicorn thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

s
shudson118
Jan 23, 2020

shudson118 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

p
pink_dolphin_3025
Mar 23, 2019

pink_dolphin_3025 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary
j
JerryJennings
Jan 04, 2020

A Memoir by Tara Westover is a powerful book.  Westover’s courage to tell her story is important because it provides others with a true journey.  A complex, emotional, brutal, and brave journey a young women took ‘from’, ‘towards; and ‘to’ a healthy new beginning.  Reading Tara’s story was not easy.  She experienced a family life, with her siblings and parents, that left scars. Westover’s candor fills this book. I appreciate how straightforward and humble her writing is. I am so glad I read it.  

This book was selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2018.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at OPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top