Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction
Published: February 20, 2018
Publishing a memoir that puts everything on the table and doesn’t shrink from the unpleasant and straight-up tragic must be a terrifying and emotional experience.
Tara Westover had a sheltered childhood living in a strict Mormon home in Idaho. She was homeschooled and did hard manual labor alongside her brothers in the junkyard. The things she witnessed and accepted as the norm was mind-boggling to read. Between her parents (father mostly) and her brother Shawn – dysfunctional seems like a mild term.
The first 2/3 of the book detailed a shocking and erratic home-life that Tara endured and then would laugh off or downplay or “forget”. Certain parts were very difficult to read.
The educational milestones she accomplished despite the poverty and violence and paranoia of her family was astonishing. She taught herself from old textbooks and when all was said and done, found her passion and excelled far beyond anyone’s expectations.
I think she has shown great courage in writing this candid memoir. She still has a lot of life yet to live and I would be very curious to see how her perceptions change as she gets older.
How does one critique someone else’s life? Impossible. Do I wish the end had been more uplifting? Yes. Have I walked a mile in her shoes? No. I wish I got the feeling that she would be okay. She kept going back home time and time again for validation and I just wanted to give her a hug. I do hope she finds her strength and worth and independence.
About the Author:
Tara Westover is an American author. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education, she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.
Educated is her first book.
QOTD: Have you read Educated? What were your thoughts? Any homeschoolers that can weigh in?