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Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Tara Westover (Author)

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1,1187910,775 (4.31)88
Title:Educated: A Memoir
Authors:Tara Westover (Author)
Info:Random House (2018), Edition: First Edition, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (2018)


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A disturbing hot mess of a memoir, one of the worst examples of the "Stockholm syndrome" in all of nonfiction literature. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Nov 14, 2018 |
Tara Westover grew up isolated, both physically in a remote Idaho location and emotionally. Her family, headed by her patriarchal father, belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon sect. However, it wasn't only the religion that explained their isolation, but her father's mindset and probable mental illness.

He was strongly mistrustful of all things government or otherwise organized. He was a 'prepper', dedicating part of his family's limited resources to storageof food and items to be used when society collapsed. He did not believe in schools so his kids had limited homeschooling. (In one of her first college classes, Tara had to ask the meaning of the word 'Holocaust”) . He did not believe in doctors, so when his children received horrific injuries from helping him support the family at his junkyard or building barns, they stayed at home to heal – or die. It's amazing to me that they all survived with only their mother's self taught knowledge of herbs and midwifery.

Tara was forbidden interaction with local kids and events; however she became extremely motivated to learn, earning a scholarship, and finding education the key to a life beyond the Idaho backwoods.

I found this book very compelling. It's hard for me to imagine that these levels of child abusive neglect can openly exist and such practices as not having medical help are condoned by communities.

Since I read this with the NYT/PBS Now Read This book club, there were many internet links providing ongoing discussion. Two of them I found the most interesting were:

Article from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/millennial-media/201804/psychologists-take-tara-westovers-memoir-educated

Rebuttal from Tara Westover's family: https://www.hjnews.com/allaccess/educated-should-be-read-with-grain-of-salt-says-family/article_0583f217-6fd2-51de-a891-9ca32adb589c.html ( )
1 vote streamsong | Nov 10, 2018 |
Wow, what an amazing read and an amazing person. Tara Westover, overcame so much in her life and came out on the other side a survivor. What an inspiration to those who want an education, but find they do not have the resources. This book lets you know if there is a will there is a way. Tara Westover is a brilliant woman and an inspiration! ( )
  elizabethmcdonald | Nov 3, 2018 |
A view into the life of a young women struggling to come of age in a compound led by a Mormon patriarch. Tara has to learn to deal with so much while struggling to understand her own self worth while learning about a world that she has been largely shielded from. This memoir deals with abuse, family dynamics, struggles and successes. If you are facinated by a life that you cannot imagine, you will appreciate this story. ( )
  sbenne3 | Oct 28, 2018 |
Tara Westover, the youngest of seven siblings, was raised by survivalist parents "off-of-the-grid" in the shadow of secluded Buck's Peak, Idaho. Her father so feared the government that many, including Tara, did not have birth certificates or go to school. None received medical care from anyone other than their mother who was primarily self-trained in homeopathic medicine. Tara's world view was limited to only what her parents told her. When she finally began attending Brigham Young University at 17 years old after convincing the administration that she was home schooled (what schooling she received was primarily through self-education), she was truly John Locke's tabula rasa. She had never heard of the Holocaust and thought Europe was a country. School opened her eyes to the world and the reality of her family. Through a desire to learn, persistence, and assistance from key educators along the way, Tara eventually obtain an education from Cambridge University culminating in a doctoral degree from Harvard University at 28 years of age.

Like the author of The Glass Castle, this is a memoir of a woman who overcomes familial obstacles to obtain an education. As she tries to "have her cake and eat it too" between family acceptance and an education" she risks losing both. This memoir was particular difficult to stomach given a troubled brother whose abusive behavior was overlooked by Tara's parents. However, her craving to learn, drive for a good education, and desire for a better life was kept me turning to pages and has kept this book on the NYT bestsellers list for 38 weeks and I predict will keep it on it for many more weeks to come. ( )
1 vote John_Warner | Oct 28, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tara Westoverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Svensson, PatrikCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, JuliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, & thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. - Virginia Woolf
I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing. - John Dewey
For Tyler
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My strongest memory is not a memory.
...I had finally begun to grasp something that should have been immediately apparent: that someone had opposed the great march toward equality; someone had been the person from whom freedom had been wrested. (p. 180)
...something shifted nonetheless. I had started on a path of awareness, had perceived something elemental about my brother, my father, myself. I had discerned the ways in which we had been sculpted by a tradition given to us by others, a tradition of which we were either willfully or accidentally ignorant. I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse who sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others--because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward. (p. 180)
I had decided to study no history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I'd felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought that if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history of most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught. Dad could be wrong, and the great historians Carlyle and Macauley and Trevelyan could be wrong, but from the ashes of their dispute I could construct a world to live in. In knowing the ground was not ground at all, I hoped I could stand on it. (p. 238)
It's strange how you give the people you love so much power over you, I had written in my journal. ... He had defined me to myself, and there's no greater power than that. (p. 199)
I had been taught to read the words of men like Madison as a cast into which I ought to pour the plaster of my own mind, to be reshaped according to the contours of their faultless model. I read them to learn what to think, not how to think for myself. (p. 239)
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Book description
An Amazon Best Book of February 2018: Tara Westover wasn’t your garden variety college student. When the Holocaust was mentioned in a history class, she didn’t know what it was (no, really). That’s because she didn’t see the inside of a classroom until the age of seventeen. Public education was one of the many things her religious fanatic father was dubious of, believing it a means for the government to brainwash its gullible citizens, and her mother wasn’t diligent on the homeschooling front. If it wasn’t for a brother who managed to extricate himself from their isolated—and often dangerous--world, Westover might still be in rural Idaho, trying to survive her survivalist upbringing. It’s a miraculous story she tells in her memoir Educated. For those of us who took our educations for granted, who occasionally fell asleep in large lecture halls (and inconveniently small ones), it’s hard to grasp the level of grit—not to mention intellect—required to pull off what Westover did. But eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University may have been the easy part, at least compared to what she had to sacrifice to attain it. The courage it took to make that sacrifice was the truest indicator of how far she’d come, and how much she’d learned. Educated is an inspiring reminder that knowledge is, indeed, power. --Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
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"An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University"--Amazon.com.

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