Tara 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 16 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, from her singular experience 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.
Earphones Award winner for Audiofile magazine
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David Bowden on 03-03-18
Wonderful, inspiring book on the value of education
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
By Amazon Customer on 22-03-18
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
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jane on 12-06-18
Beautifully documented memoir. Great study of family secrets and painful love. I highly recommend it.
By Thandi Lamprecht on 15-05-18
Fantastic memoir- like all the very best books it stays with you long after you’ve finished and you wish there was more.