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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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

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

    • 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.
    • An absolutely amazing story of triumph over a horrifying childhood. I am appalled by the author's brother, Shawn, who should be in a mental hospital or prison. From her account, it should come as no surprise if he one day kills someone. Her father's callous disregard for his children's safety and well being is unparalleled. Then there is the treachery of her mother.I applaud Tara for escaping the physical and psychological abuse she endured and for having the courage to become educated.
    • 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 loved this book because it mirrors my own life so much and was so validating. My mother has borderline personality disorder, I ran away from home to get a medical degree never believing I could, and still I am often shocked with how my family makes me out to be a terrible person when I get along with the rest of the world besides them so well. My whole life I had wondered what was wrong with me, until I moved away and realized it was my family, not me, and I grew up in severe dysfunction. Ditching narrow minded religion (of the Catholic variety) was the best thing I ever did for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed this because I have lived a similar story and it is always nice to hear you are not alone. Fantastic read. Thank you for writing this Dr. Westover. It was so nice to hear it’s not just me.
    • In the interest of full disclosure, I'm the "Drew" from this book, and although Tara and I are no longer together I’ve met all of the key figures in this book on many occasions. Although I don’t have as intimate a knowledge of growing up in the Westover family as a sibling would, I observed first hand everything Tara describes in the third part of the book and heard many stories about earlier events, not just from Tara, but from siblings, cousins, and her parents themselves. I find the claims of factual inaccuracy that have come up among these reviews to be strange for two reason. First, in a post-James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces”) world, publishers are incredibly careful with memoirs and “Educated” was extensively fact checked before publication. Second, no one claiming factual inaccuracy can do more than make vague claims that the book is full of lies. While every Westover sibling, as well as their neighbors and friends, will have different perspectives and different memories, it is very difficult to dispute the core facts of this book. “Educated” is about abuse, and the way in which both abusers and their enablers distort reality for the victims. It’s about the importance of gaining your own understanding of the world so you’re not dependent on the narratives imposed on you by others. I’ve heard Tara’s parents attack schools and universities, doctors and modern medicine, but more importantly, I’ve seen her parents work tirelessly to create a world where Shawn’s abuse was minimized or denied outright. I’ve seen them try to create a world where Tara was insane or possessed in order to protect a violent and unstable brother. I was with her in Cambridge when Shawn was calling with death threats, then saw her mother completely trivialize the experience. For Tara’s parents, allegiance to the family is paramount, and allegiance to the family requires you to accept her father’s view of the world, where violence is acceptable and asking for change is a crime.