I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but this one called out to me. And I’m happy to say that Educated is my very first audio book via Audible.
Education was the author’s escape from an abusive childhood with survivalist Mormon parents, described in her extraordinary memoir– Guardian interview
Book Description of Educated
Tara Westover was 17 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.
Her father forbade hospitals, 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 one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important 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. 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 with severing the closest of 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.
In families like mine there is no crime worse than telling the truth.Tara Westover
My review: 5/5
Educated is a remarkable story of triumph over religious fanaticism, abuse and total family dysfunction. It’s not the easiest book to read. The graphic descriptions of the accidents that her father allowed his children to go through are painful. Then the physical and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother. That her parents turned a blind eye to the abuse, is shocking and difficult to accept.
The special bond Tara shared with one of her brothers and how he reached out to her and shared his music with her. Music, to a large extent saved her.
“I thought of the voices, of their strange contradictions — of the way they made sound float on air, of how that sound was soft like a warm wind, but so sharp it pierced. Nothing had ever felt so natural, it was as if I thought the sound, and by thinking it brought it into being.”
At 17, this bright girl who had never been to school broke out of the cage of her family and began to shine.
Despite the harshness of the story, Tara’s writing is beautiful and mesmerizing and she’s is so inspiring.
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