EDUCATED

by Tara Westover

The daughter of survivalists, who is kept out of school, educates herself enough to leave home for university.

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  • I'm patiently anticipating the #Killmonger book by. @bryanedwardhill & @juaneferreyra. I know folks see me rantingā€¦ https://t.co/hcErUUtflB
  • @tjseher @Blaney Book learning is the beginning of knowledge. Wisdom is knowing what to do with that knowledge. I'vā€¦ https://t.co/yqEEWIcrsN
  • @HaleyJaneComic Ummmm. Riiiiight. I suggest you grab a book and educated your self. Iā€™m guessing you the percentageā€¦ https://t.co/1ydni3z5iK
  • I painted "Highly-educated Jeff "Comic Book Guy" Albertson" after reading @KateUpton's latest tweets with intelligeā€¦ https://t.co/0RoUzwQqpD
  • Peter Lunsford, a lonely, book-loving, self-educated and self-destructive salesman, has an abrupt and radical changā€¦ https://t.co/McHJGQ0W5h
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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • I finished this powerful, tender but also deeply disturbing memoir yesterday and I'm still thinking about it. At first I was astounded to see that Tyler Westover, the brother who was so instrumental in his sister's liberation, had written a review here that was somewhat critical of the book, questioning the accuracy of some of his sister's memories, and clearly wanting to defend his family's fundamental decency. But then I wasn't surprised at all given that the author herself does the same thing throughout the book, even acknowledging in a postscript the challenges inherent in trying to accurately recall events that occurred years in the past. No one doubts that three people can witness the same event and twenty years later give differing accounts of it. Notably, her brother takes no issue with the most horrifying aspects of the childhood that his sister exposes. There are laws against that sort of thing for a reason. It's disturbing to say the least that their brother "Shaun" is still at large when, even if the author's memory is only ten percent accurate, he should be behind bars.
    • For me, this is a story about a family tragically undervaluing its daughters and overvaluing its sons. This is a sadly common story in American families, although the physical trauma makes this story so much worse, and gripping. This has been an extremely thought-provoking read for me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys memoir.
    • I was enthralled and moved by this powerful memoir. The author grew up in a survivalist family in Idaho, the youngest child. She was not homeschooled---instead, she simply didn't go to school at all, due to her father's mistrust of public schools. Her family didn't believe in modern medicine. Instead, her mother was an herbalist and midwife. Her father owned a junkyard. Her childhood is affected over and over by serious injuries of family members, injuries which are not treated.As Tara gets into her preteen and teen years, one older brother in particular starts tormenting her, and the tormenting rises to the level of hugely severe abuse. In part in response to this, she decides to go to college, and by pretty much sheer force of will, does well enough on the ACT to get into Brigham Young University. From there, she starts a storied college career and eventually gets a doctorate from Cambridge. However, each time she is drawn back to the her family, her brother's abuse continues, and the family denial turns more and more severe. The memoir becomes a story of her internal struggle---to believe her own version of her life and to have the strength to break away from her past.I've struggled with some issues of my own in remembering the past differently than others, and I well know the feeling that the author has over and over. One line, "reality becomes fluid", hit me very hard. When you know something happened a certain way, but others can't accept that reality and attempt to change the past by denying it---Tara Westover is able to write about this so powerfully I was crying at points.I hope this book gets wide readership. It's an amazing glimpse into a way of life that most of us will never know, and an inspiring story of one woman's ability to change her future.
    • I read this book as the May selection for the PBS/NYT "Now Read This" book club. I applaud Dr. Westover's courage and determination to live her life in her own terms, and those who have helped encourage and support her alone by the way. I am furious with her family, especially her mother. I support the constitutional right to religious freedom, but I do take exception when that belief infringes on the rights of others (such as the Westover children's right to an (actual) education) or harms them in any way (such as the physical, mental and emotional abuse the kids suffered within the family). There is an argument that can be made that many of the family's issues stem from illnesses and lingering effects of injuries that were never treated or healed properly due to their disbelief in modern medicine, but I can't believe Dr. Whatever's mother could be such a commanding presence as a midwife, and be done deeply affected by the lives of strangers she brought into the world, and yet be sidelined so easily when it came to her own daughter's wellbeing. I don't understand how a woman can get more lathered up about funeral thank you cards than the fact that her daughter was being abused.
    • The true story of how a young woman grew up living off-the-grid, with no birth certificate or education, in a violent, mentally unstable, survivalist family, and found her own way, step by jagged step, to a Ph.D. at Cambridge University. A riveting account of growing up in a world where violence is part of every day life, and the emotional toll that takes on a child, to the incredible, potent power of education to haul oneself out.Educated is a series of absolutely gripping set pieces. There's the story of nine-year-old Tara finding her older brother Luke, his leg on fire, in the front yard, and wrapping his leg in a trash bag so it wouldn't get infected before submerging it in a garbage can to stop it from burning. And then being scolded by her mother for using plastic trash bag, which melted to the skin. And the humiliation of her first college lecture, when one of the words on a slide was unfamiliar and she asked her professor what the Holocaust was.There is also the devastating account of an entire family held hostage to the madness and violence of their father, and the brutal terrorism of one son; how each member of the family tries at different times to free themselves from this madness, and how so many of them fail, and the cost that comes with success.It's about the unimaginable toll of a lifetime of mental and physical abuse, of being denied not just education, but a sense of self; of how the people we love can try to destroy us by taking away our own history, and how hard it is---but how vital---to fight back.Brilliant book. Wouldn't be surprised if it's the best thing I read this year.