BOOK REVIEW: Educated: A memoir by Tara Westover

Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Random House
336 pages
Buy: Hardcover  | Kindle 


Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.


Whew this is a tough one to review.  I really loved this book but it was not an easy read for me.  There were many times I had to put it down and walk away because I was so upset at how brainwashed her family had her and the trauma they all endured.  Not only was the kids not sent to school and taught that it was wrong the family had an innate dislike of Western medicine relying entirely on holistic healthcare.  I have nothing against holistic health practices in fact I use a lot of them.  However head trauma or severe burns require a hospital in my opinion.  With all the things that went on in this family the physical abuse by one of the brothers and the cover up by family members was the hardest to read.  I am truly surprised that any of the kids survived in this family let alone a few of them getting away, holding high degrees and really "making it" in the real world.  

It wasn't until close to the end that I started to let out a breath and could feel the tension in my shoulders ease as I knew that Tara would be okay which is stupid because obviously she is okay she wrote the book and has been interviewed on numerous talk shows.  Something about her story was just so engrossing I found myself so frustrated and angry at what was happening.  I guess thats the sign of a good writer though making you feel what they felt, engaging you enough in the story that you lose sight of the fact that this is a story from the past not the present.  Kudos for Westover for an amazing tale of survival and for navigating her way through academia with an unrequited love of learning and analyzing. 

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