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Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
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Educated: A Memoir (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Tara Westover (Author)

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2,5011743,698 (4.29)265
Member:ddh1
Title:Educated: A Memoir
Authors:Tara Westover (Author)
Info:Random House (2018), Edition: 1st, 352 pages
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Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (2018)

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» See also 265 mentions

English (165)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
This book may well be the most raved about book I've picked up this year, commended by Barack Obama, Bill Gates and everybody in between, this book had some serious hype behind it.

This is a memoir written by Tara Westover and follows her life as someone who grew up in a devout Mormon survivalist family without any formal education, Tara did not step foot in a class room until she was 17 and up to that point had very limited knowledge on the world and its history. Her and her six siblings grew up working on her fathers junkyard in a wildly unsafe environment.
Her upbringing was brutal at times and made for difficult reading - the family did not believe in using hospitals or doctors and some of the injuries depicted are truly horrific, how they managed to survive through most of them is beyond me.
Tara also suffered at the hands of an abusive older brother and in my opinion an abusive father. It would have been very easy to present these people and abusive situations with an obvious one dimensional villain however Westover manages to humanise them in a remarkable way. Reading from her perspective and experiencing her conflicting opinions was at once incredibly moving and unsettling.

Tara's love of education and her drive to do well shine in this memoir and when she finally became Dr Tara Westover i was truly elated. I don't think I've ever been prouder of someone I've never met!

I was engrossed by this story and found the writing to be excellent and captivating - I highly recommend this! A beautifully poignant book and one that I imagine will stick with me for a long time. ( )
  SaraChook | Jun 19, 2019 |
This is a fascinating look at an alternative lifestyle that seems so unimaginable. Tara Westover writes of her life growing up in Idaho with a survivalist family. Her father didn't believe in public education, or government interference, or public health care. It is amazing Tara and her siblings survived their own childhood, though it could be debated how well they survived. Through sheer willpower and perseverance, Westover put herself through college, eventually obtaining a PhD. Her story recounts her childhood and what it took to change her situation: mentally, physically, and spirituality. It was a captivating read that I had trouble putting down. ( )
  Tessa.Johnson | Jun 13, 2019 |
Book club read

This was not a book I would normally read but I’m glad I was pushed out of my comfort zone. ( )
  TheBookNookNC | Jun 12, 2019 |
Much of Westover's memoir angered me, and as I turned the pages I was often surprised by where I lodged that anger and upon whom I didn't. (Who is at fault here? Who to blame for this madness? The mom? The dad? The grandparents? Joseph Smith?) For me this nearly overrode Dr. Westover's achievements. It's the abuse, endangerment, and neglect that got under my skin, not the academic pursuits and brass rings, impressive as they would be under any circumstances and extraordinary under hers.

Midway through the book Radiohead's "2+2=5" arose of its own accord in my mind as the musical mental accompaniment to the book.

Are you such a dreamer
To put the world to rights
I'll stay home forever
Where two and two always makes a five

I'll lay down the tracks
Sandbag and hide
January has April showers
And two and two always makes a five

It's the devil's way now
There is no way out
You can scream and shout
It is too late now

Because you're not there
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention

Yeah I feel it, I needed attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention

Yeah I need it, I needed attention
I needed attention
I needed attention
I needed attention

Yeah I love it, the attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Payin' attention
Soon ah

I try to sing along
But the music's all wrong
'Cause I'm not
'Cause I'm not

I'll swallow up flies?
Back and hide
But I'm not

Oh hail to the thief
Oh hail to the thief
But I'm not
But I'm not
But I'm not
But I'm not

Don't question my authority or put me in the box
'Cause I'm not
'Cause I'm not

Oh go up to the king, and the sky is falling in
But it's not
But it's not
Maybe not
Maybe not
Maybe not
--Radiohead ( )
  mpho3 | Jun 9, 2019 |
I found this a difficult book to grapple with. At first it was fascinating to delve into the insane lifestyle of Westover's fundamentalist parents, but the book just kept getting darker and darker as one brother's twisted and violent tendencies started to eclipse everything else.

Then the author, interested in historiography in her studies -- how the perspective of the one writing the history shapes the history -- undercuts the credibility of her own history in numerous ways: using pseudonyms for her family members while using her own real name (What's the point of that? Did her education not include Google?), giving repeated credence to her brother and father's gaslighting, showing repeated willingness to change her perception of reality for acceptance, questioning the validity of memory itself, and, finally, putting asterisks next to "quoted" emails that she admits to just making up with the excuse that "The meaning has been preserved." The muddle she creates dulls my admiration for her achievement in surviving and escaping her family.

I may have set my expectations too high, hoping this would be another The Glass Castle. ( )
1 vote villemezbrown | Jun 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tara Westoverprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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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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"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."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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