Friday, May 31, 2019

Book Review: Educated by Tara Westover

Book: Educated by Tara Westover
Genre: memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

I've been hearing about this book for quite awhile now. When it lost in our book club voting I decided to not wait any longer and just read it now. And once I got started, I pretty much devoured it.

It's a story about the author's strange and crazy upbringing, and how she escaped it to finally go to school, and then she becomes an amazing scholar breaking all odds to even get a doctorate from Cambridge.

She grew up on a farm and junkyard in Idaho where her parents, but especially her dad, had some crazy ideas that included doomsday thoughts, paranoia, literally translations from the scriptures, and no fear of danger. They didn't believe in doctors, school, or things like getting birth certificates. Basically, he wanted to live off the grid where the government couldn't find him and stock piled food and weapons for the day they did.

The problems arise when he or someone in his family gets gravely injured and they just hope they get better with no help from the doctors. It happened so many times. Also, there's the issue of physical abuse from her brother which no one would believe. (She actually didn't tell anyone about it until later, but they all knew it was happening and just looked the other way.)

So when she was about 16 she decided she needed to get out of there, and the only escape was to go to college. So she studied on her own, stuff she'd never learned up till then, so she could take the ACT. And she need. And she passed. And she got in.

Coming to college was like stepping out into a completely different world and it took her a long while to adjust. But once she did, she embraced this new life, and would have liked to figure out how to mesh her two lives, but it turned out to be pretty impossible. She documents her struggle with that and how for nearly a year she did nothing but watch TV in the midst of her depression over it. So sad.

So, like I keep saying... it's very fascinating and there's so much to think about and talk about, but it's also quite depressing. It's hard to read about the rift between a daughter and her family... even if that family is crazy!

Among all the crazy things, it's a bottom line tribute to learning and how we have an innate desire to learn. And how if we don't go to school, at some point, we crave it. And how some people will do anything to get the education they want so bad.

I'm kinda sad our book club decided not read it because I've been so compelled to talk about it and everyone here is getting sick of me now!! LOL! I'm sure our book club discussion would have been quite interesting.

Let me know if you've read it and what you thought and if you too needed to talk about it a lot afterwards. :)


  1. I keep planning to read this one, and then I say no. The minute I decide to pass, I read another rave review like yours!

  2. I've been wanting to read it! Every review I come across makes it sound compelling.

  3. This book has gotten so much hype that I expected it to totally blow my socks off and ... it didn't. I mean, it's definitely interesting and compelling, but it's also depressing and weird. In the end, I just didn't love it as much as I thought I would. It would make a great book club discussion book, though!



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