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Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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10,111515750 (4.3)427
Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The 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. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.… (more)
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  15. 11
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» See also 427 mentions

English (501)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  German (2)  Croatian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (515)
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Just great ♥️ OR

It's hard to imagine a life like Tara's. This is what makes literature interesting; stories that transport you in faraway places with very different people. But Tara's is real. She said that while she was writing her story, she wasn't sure if she was writing the account of estrangement from her family or her path to education. It was both, because they were mutually exclusive. Her radical Mormon survivalist parents raised her and her brothers in a farm in Idaho without a birth certificate, doctors, or education. Tara was supposed to be homeschooled, but she wasnt. Her father believed in government conspiracies and the End of Days. Her mother treated near-fatal injuries with essential oils. As Tara went from that environment to attending BYU and then earning a PhD from Cambridge, she slowly learned to believe in her own truth, to make her own choices. But it was a very different world her family still lived in, one that she had to give up. This is not one to be missed! ( )
  Louisasbookclub | Jun 30, 2024 |
This book is a fantastic read, as everyone says, and is also supremely unsettling. Maybe because of my personal perspectives and reader empathy, this book was especially intense. It's written at an interesting distance that I don't see often in life writing: the reader isn't as close to Tara as they could be. There's a removed tone to the way the story is told, which is explained by and compliments her story perfectly. It's filled with violence and unstable mental states and maybe it's a subject most people don't want to get close to anyway.
I definitely recommend this book, but if you've already experienced a life of emotional manipulation, brace yourself. ( )
  illarai | Jun 26, 2024 |
So far the best book I've read in 2020. Tara Westover has a unique way with words; her stories and anecdotes are incredibly fascinating. This memoir, in my understanding, shows how curiosity can bring someone to their success, and that family has a huge effect on a person's behaviors, biases, and beliefs. ( )
  heolinhdam | Jun 25, 2024 |
People like Tara Westover, author of "Educated: A Memoir," vividly remind us all about the innate potential in people and the indomitable human spirit. In this powerful and emotion-filled book, Tara explains what it was like to not only survive her unusual upbringing but to thrive in a way that was inconceivable to her younger self.

Raised by survivalist, conspiracy-theorist parents in rural Idaho, Tara never visited a doctor or attended school. She suffered direct abuse from her older brother and in some instances neglect from her parents. Believing there was more to life than what was offered to her on her family's mountain, Tara embarked on a course of self-study to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. She attended, in spite of her father's warning that the school was too liberal (!) Away from her family for the first time, Tara discovered just how much she didn't know and learned that much of what she had been told by her parents simply wasn't true. She continued her education -- eventually studying at both Oxford and Harvard.

Aside from her outward journey from Idaho to Utah and then the U.K. and beyond, Tara shares her inward journey. Where and how does she fit into her family? Can they accept her as she is -- and will they accept the truth she tries to get them to acknowledge?

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  jj24 | May 27, 2024 |
It has been a long time since I’ve read a book so engrossing that I could hardly put it down.

A book that made me sad over how badly Tara and other women were treated. My heart goes out to her over her reality denying parents that seduced so many people into believing lies about the cruelty in their family.

( )
  bread2u | May 15, 2024 |
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Westover, Taraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ake, RachelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bachman, Barbara M.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brice, SilvijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, Katarinasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Company, SalvadorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Csatáry, Tünde, Vsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hel Guedj, Johan-FrédérikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
ΜΑΡΙΑ ΦΑΚΙΝΟΥTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karsokienė, Aušrasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindström, Connysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín, AntoniaTraductorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nguyễn Bích LanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niskanen, KaroliinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peter Rønnov-Jessen…secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rota Sperti, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schönfeld, EikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staffansson, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stojanović, JasminaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuart, PaulAuthor Photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stubhaug, Hildesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svensson, PatrikCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torcal Garcia, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valkonen, TeroKääNtäJä.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vos, LetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, JuliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, JuliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For Tyler
First words
My strongest memory is not a memory.
Quotations
...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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Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The 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. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

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This is a memoir of Tara whom was raised off the grid in Idaho with no education and isolated. Tara craved knowledge and once one of her brothers got into college she followed. She went to Cambridge and Harvard, but she wondered if she lost her way home. She shows how education can change ones life even though she came from a totally different upbringing.
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