Book Review of
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 metal in her father’s junkyard.
Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. 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 an older brother became violent.
When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. 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.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
I am pretty sure this book will go on my list for favorite books of 2018. I always struggle to say that I enjoyed a non-fiction book like this that shares a tragic event or difficult life and childhood. Maybe saying I found the book very fascinating is a better way to describe it. Once I started this book, I had trouble putting it down. I read it in just a few days. One day I had to force myself to put it down to cook dinner.
Books like this are important because they open our eyes to the lives around us and how people live. I also loved how this book proved all that you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. It is called Educated for a reason. The author took her education into her own hands when her parents failed her. With hard work, determination, and a desire to learn you can accomplish almost anything.
I will add that I have seen this book all over social media the last few months. It is a book that many people are reading and have shared their love of. I was not aware of some controversy over the book until after I started reading it. Quite a few people don’t like the book or how she portrays her family and her life. It didn’t bother me at all. I know that there are always extremes, especially when it comes to politics, religion, schooling, etc. Just because her family did it one way does not mean that all people do it that way. I don’t think the author intended at all to say all homeschoolers or all Mormons or all conservatives are this way. She was simply sharing her story.