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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  • Peter Lunsford, a lonely, book-loving, self-educated and self-destructive salesman, has an abrupt and radical chang… https://t.co/McHJGQ0W5h
  • I'm patiently anticipating the #Killmonger book by. @bryanedwardhill & @juaneferreyra. I know folks see me ranting… https://t.co/hcErUUtflB
  • @HaleyJaneComic Ummmm. Riiiiight. I suggest you grab a book and educated your self. I’m guessing you the percentage… https://t.co/1ydni3z5iK
  • I painted "Highly-educated Jeff "Comic Book Guy" Albertson" after reading @KateUpton's latest tweets with intellige… https://t.co/0RoUzwQqpD
  • @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)

    • 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 grew up with a less extreme version of the same background - fundamentalist parents, rampant misconceptions about our world and our history, and abuse to endure as the price for maintaining a relationship with my family. I picked up this book out of the hope to find a narrative I could relate to, and something that would lay further groundwork for my own healing and recovery. It ended up being a little hard for me to read - the book's most detailed moment graphically depict the physical abuse that Sean causes Tara, her father's endangerment of everyone who works in his junkyard (and manipulation and threats to everyone who doesn't), and the gaslighting her family directs at her when she speaks out against her abuse. This makes me think I may not have quite been the target audience for the book. I had to wait until the end of the book for the resolution I was hoping for, and even then it surprised me with more family loyalty than distance (if also resilience and better understanding) - reminding me that there's no such thing as a clean narrative of abuse.Aside from my own personal relationship to the narrative, I thought it was a really meaningful and important story to tell. I'm really glad to have this story showing how hard it is to navigate these kinds of family dynamics, and I hope this book can be informative - and encouraging - to others as well.
    • 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.
    • I didn't set out to read this memoir at one sitting, ordering just the standard sample to be sent to my tablet...but after reading just that small sample, I immediately clicked on the "give me the whole chalupa button" so I could continue reading this absorbing & introspective memoir...the author never cuts herself any slack, just writing truthfully about how unprepared she was having endured the abuse from her family which had dominated her entire life before education brought her into adapting into the modern life the rest of us experience.Jarring at times when the reality of her experiences can overwhelm one when reading this memoir, but by never resorting to asking for mercy regarding her actions & life, you get the true sense of her being trapped by being raised in a mean spirited world that featured deprivation as its main commodity, reflecting into her coarsely made aspects of life. Between a domineering father, a beaten down mother and an abusive brother, she really had no chance of ending up in the life that she successfully fought for against the tides of family ties, religion, & society that had bound her into a life of servitude & misogyny. Her escape from it is almost anti-climatic in a matter of fact way, the abuse of everyday life for her was in itself the drama that holds the reader in suspense... Just as Mary Karr's "The Liar's Club" lets you see the inside of abuse young females sometimes are exposed to and have to take because of familial bonds and their lack of physical power. This alone leaves one wondering what happened afterwards. And like" The Liar's Club", it has the air of disbelief this couldn't actually be happening, or better yet, OMG, this actually happened! Its good to see someone make it thru this trap of abuse & misogyny, but at the same time, Ms. Westover lets you also see the potential traps that lie ahead as she escapes into a world she has no basis of experience in which to thrive...best maybe to be told in the future in another book with a different POV...for that matter, like Karr's "Cherry"or "Lit"...I will definitely look forward to see what Ms. Westover writes next, this book will be re-read several times in the future, each time I am sure I will find more aspects of being a male that I might be best to correct...or better yet, maybe to nurture. My wife and her daughter, my stepdaughter, say I am doing fine as a male head of household, but it takes memoirs like this to give me the insight & desire into making myself into a better person so I can be thought of in a positive manner and to be loved because I did the right things for the entire family; me, my wife, my stepdaughter & stepson...its thru the pain women like Ms Westover & Ms Karr have suffered & now write about, that one sees how much better any man can become just by trying. I would never want my extended family to think of me in the ways Ms. Westover writes about her male familial people, I would want for myself to be thought of as a good man who held up his end of the bargain of family. Its by understanding the faults of men like Ms. Westover's stepdad and brother held onto in their world that I can then find my way into just by being a better man to my family...read it and see if it works in this same manner for you...dj
    • 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.