Photo Review – Educated by Tara Westover



by Tara Westover

SummaryTara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected.

She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.

As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled 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 the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has, from her singular experience, crafted a universal coming-of-age story, one 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.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy and read it for a local book club.

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I enjoyed Educated and found it to be quite shocking and thought provoking. It’s been weeks since I finished the book and I’m still thinking about it.

I think some of the options or even controversy can stem from the fact that this is a memoir and with any memoir, especially after James Frey, comes a bit of skepticism. Is this really true?

At the same time, a good memoir should read like a novel and be gripping, which often means being creative with the organization, narration, flow, and how the facts are presented. The truth is often different things to different people and I feel that the author did her best to be clear and truthful. I think some of the help she received in order to succeed in college was glossed over. I feel that the most unrealistic portion of the book is not the family life she had, but the ease of which she was able to get a PhD (as well as the siblings who also did the same) without any money or experience with standardized tests and other entry processes.

Still, Educated was terrifying. It actually scares me that there are people like Tara’s family and community in the world. It concerns me that people can get away with being so crazy and violent with no repercussions.

The most aggravating part of the memoir was watching Tara go back to her family, suffer emotional abuse and even physical abuse at the hands of her family members and not realize it was abnormal. Sometime I wanted to shake her, frustrated that someone could be so naive. It was maddening to watch her pride get the in the way of asking for help. I’m amazed she made it out and not at all shocked that her family would try to claim her words are fake.

I definitely recommend the book.


Star 4

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – A book I think should be a movie


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