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Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,9224071,106 (4.31)393
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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    Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Memoir with similar themes
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  5. 41
    Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Quite different views of Mormon life, but both books are compelling reads of young women who suffered through horrific lives under the control of domineering and manipulative men.
  6. 20
    Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray (Micheller7)
  7. 10
    Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope, Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: Both books describe in intimate detail the supreme effort required to break free of fundamentalist beliefs and the pain of being cast out of their close-knit families as a result.
  8. 10
    Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult by Jayanti Tamm (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These wrenching autobiographies examine how parents with fiercely held beliefs can damage their children on multiple fronts. Forbidden from engaging with the rest of society in normal ways, the authors endured shattering psychological abuse before their eventual escape.… (more)
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  12. 00
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    Carissa.Green: Sarah Smarsh's memoir is about a similarly-aged girl growing up in a rural area on the economic fringes, but Smarsh's memoir is more analytical and deals much less in the sensationalism of having a violent, mentally ill parent.
  13. 00
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  14. 00
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  15. 00
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    sweetiegherkin: Different kinds of abuse, but both memoirs cover manipulative, controlling fathers and their negative impacts on family life.
  16. 01
    Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: Although Pure is a little more academic at times than Educated, there are similar themes and concerns held by the memoirists.
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» See also 393 mentions

English (395)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (406)
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)
ספר כתוב היטב, לרוב מרתק ומעלה הרבה בעיות ונושאים לחשוב עליהם. עם זאת לא חסר בעיות הן ברמה של התוכן והעריכה והן בהיבט של אמינות הסיפור ( )
  amoskovacs | May 23, 2022 |
Wow. What a story. Very easy to read but also very tough, subject-wise. My husband had been watching the nightly news and there was a piece about a new book by Tara Westover, a first time author, who shared her life story about being an uneducated Mormon from Idaho. I immediately added it to my "to-read" list and placed a hold at the library. It of course came when I had three books already going simultaneously. I had to triage and go by due dates, so this one got bumped a bit until its due date was upcoming with no chance for renewal. That's the way this gal operates. I had peeked at it early and was already hooked, so I impatiently waited until I knew one of the other books was renewed then dropped that renewed book like a hot potato.

Anyway....Wow. I really won't even write a review, just encourage people to read this one. There are so many people in our world, our country, who live completely different lives from us. It was a little familiar to me though, due to a complete lapse of judgment when I married the wrong person when I was too young. He and his family were Mormons. I didn't know much about Mormons, except I envied them when I was in high school because they could go to dances, even had dances at their church. I have my own family issues, obviously. I quickly learned a whole new world, one that I was really not supposed to know, being a complete outsider who wanted nothing to do with converting. But while his family was great, he was not. What I did notice though was that there are two types of Mormons (at least) and his family was much more like Tara's, preparing for The End of Days. It was not the best time of my life, and I was able to leave it all happily when the marriage ended, but this book definitely brought stuff back.

My heart hurt for Tara in this story, still does actually. The amount of abuse she went through is mind-boggling. I trust she will find her peace. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
Absolutely terrifying. ( )
  Windyone1 | May 10, 2022 |
One of the greatest memoirs I've ever had the pleasure of reading. So eye opening and thought provoking, I tell everyone I can to read this book. ( )
  jclavet17 | Apr 30, 2022 |
Westover's memoir is a moving and thought provoking journey of a girl raised in a fundamentalist semi-separatist family with some serious mental health issues from barely being homeschooled to earning her PhD from Cambridge. Her descriptions of her family's actions and her coping mechanisms are just so searing, especially when her brother Shawn comes back into the family sphere. Her struggle with balancing her need for family/belonging and her growing exposure to actual history and medicine is a more extreme version of what so many people are going through. ( )
  Bodagirl | Apr 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Westover, Taraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brice, SilvijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svensson, PatrikCover designersecondary 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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