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.