#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
“Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention.”—The New York Times
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize
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.
“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • Good Morning America • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsday • New York Post • theSkimm • Refinery29 • Bloomberg • Self • Real Simple • Town & Country • Bustle • Paste • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • LibraryReads • Book Riot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Like Mary Carr’s The Liar’s Club and Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Educated is a beautifully written testament to human resilience: the story of a seriously messed-up childhood and an against-all-odds journey toward empowerment. Tara Westover grew up in rural Idaho, where her family stockpiled supplies and weapons for the end days. Instead of going to school, young Tara worked alongside her father salvaging scrap metal (resulting in harrowing near-misses) and assisted her isolated herbalist mother. Westover has a rare talent for writing about both grace and horror—her story of starting her formal education at age 17 and finding her calling imprints itself in the imagination.
Actor Whelan chooses a simple, straight reading of Westover's memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional, abusive fundamentalist family. It's a wise choice, partly because there are so many dramatic scenes throughout the book that it would exhaust the listener to have them dramatized, and partly because Westover portrays herself as a passive and compliant family member until the day she enters a classroom for the first time at the age of 17. Whelan creates an angry, gravelly voice for Westover's paranoid, fundamentalist Mormon father, a controlling and abusive man terrified of the influence of teachers and doctors. While preparing for the imminent end of the world, he homeschools his children and keeps them ignorant of all events outside their isolated Idaho home. Some family members are maimed by hideous accidents, and physical fights are common in the household. Still struggling with the ingrained need to be loyal to her family, Westover eventually attends college and earns a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Whelan smoothly guides listeners through Westover's physical and emotional traumas as she powerfully conveys Westover's transform from "a wicked thing" to a scholar. A Random House hardcover.
I highly recommend this book! I read it in 2 days. The strength of the author amazes me.
I picked this book up on a Friday afternoon and finished it the very next day. Dr. Westover’s experiences as a child and young adult are daunting to the rest of us living in a less rural society and having been raised by people with less extreme views of government. I often wanted to throw the book down in disgust at her parent’s beliefs and lack of faith in their own daughter. It’s almost unbelievable to me that these type of people actually exist in this country today, yet this book is proof of their existence. If you are looking for a page-turner, look no further. This is it!
I wonder if I am the only reader who felt that there were sexual undertones to the violence bestowed on Tara by her brother. He is obviously a psychopath. I just found it so odd that her parents had such a hard time admitting to her brother’s violent tendencies when they were there, witnessing it all along. It makes me wonder if Tara didn’t perhaps also allege a little more than just violent outbursts from her brother. Whatever the case, people in her family would do well to keep a wide birth around her brother, “Shawn”, who is capable of such extreme violence. He is one of those people whose temper will eventually land him in prison on a murder charge. A sick, psychopathic dog killer.
To Dr. Westover, if you are reading this someday, I want to tell you what an inspiration you are to others and that your sacrifice was not in vain. Estrangement from family is always hard, no matter the circumstances. Whatever you do and however you decide to live your life, I wish you much peace and happiness. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope it brought you some measure of vindication to tell it. Be well and have a wonderful, happy life. You deserve it.
Very good read
I love reading memoirs and this one was excellent. Tara Westover is a very talented writer who has a wonderful ability to weave the telling of her fascinating life story about being raised in a junkyard on a remote mountainside in Idaho by extremist Mormon parents with her thoughts, feelings and reflections on it all, both in the past and the present. Her descriptions are so vivid and so rich that I felt I was right there with her at Buck’s Peak staring up at the Princess, observing her emotional and physical interactions with her family members, feeling her intense pain and confusion as she grew from an innocent child who wholly believed and trusted her parents and their ideologies to an unconfident young women who questioned them and who sought her own answers, even though the seeking filled her with guilt. Her story is compelling, tragic, insane, inspiring and, unbelievably, true. The events that unfolded in each chapter were so captivating, the intricate relationships with her family members so complex and her emotions and internal struggles so honest and raw, I couldn’t put the book down. With each page I turned, I found I cared more about what her incredulous life would deal her next and how she would possibly handle it. After finishing her story, I am touched most by her ability to so bravely put it all, each lurid and shocking detail, out there in black and white for all to read knowing full well that harsh judgements would probably be made against her family, and possibly even her. It couldn’t have been easy but I, for one, am very glad she did. I think she is an inspiration. I know she is definitely Educated.
Ps. I think the girl in the mirror is still there. She wrote the book. Otherwise it would have been written by Dr. Tara Westover, right?