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While this book has plenty of grim stories of life growing up in a Mormon survivalist home, this is much more than a book about survival.
Westover makes this a book about education in its clearest, most uncynical form. This is a hymn to the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning not to be frightened of making mistakes on your path to knowledge.
It is similar to JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Yet whereas Vance’s journey from hillbilly to literary star could only make you admire his determination & discipline, Westover’s is a more humane vision. She fails, doubts and self-sabotages yet never loses faith that acquiring knowledge about the world and her fellow humans is a liberation (even when it unsettles).
Most importantly she provides hope for us all: that hopeless ignorance is only ever a book or good teacher away from being transformed, if you have the desire.
Like Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood it can be a challenging read at times: but what sings out is not the badness she experiences, but the goodness & generosity she frequently encounters (whilst remaining astounding generous to her family’s flaws)
A beautiful, inspiring read
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This had me gripped from the beginning. Beautifully written. It's devastating and uplifting. Heart stopping and heart warming. One of the best books I've ready in a long time. Inspiring all the way.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful