What’s it about?
Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals.
As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.
I’d seen this book doing the rounds on social media and on some well-trusted YouTube channels but was never really interested in picking it up. I’ve always been of the opinion that to read a memoir I’d have to have some interest in that person initially. However, it was suggested as a group read for my Meetup book club so I apprehensively got a copy from the library.
To cut more of a long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it utterly fascinating. Her stories are believable and quite unbelievable in equal measure. It’s so hard to comprehend that there was no intervention by any kind of authorities during her childhood – she had slipped through the cracks and therefore really suffered which has had such a huge impact on her adult life.
What’s more incredulous is how devout her father is. The book highlights Mormonism not very favourly but is certainly eye-opening. I found it difficult to comprehend her father’s religious extremity and, for me, how dangerous and also foolish this made him. The things he had his children, and in particular Tara, do in that scrapyard beggars belief. As I was reading it I often thought, do I believe this, is this really true, by her own admission her memories of certain points are unsure, and differ to her brother’s recollections, but this goes to show that everyone remembers events differently but overall I accepted everything she said.
She’s not only now received a scholastic education but has also learned some very harsh life lessons which, thankfully, most of us won’t ever have to experience. I finished the book and my overwhelming thought was shame on her parents! Heartfelt, honest and expressive, Educated is certainly educating!
Small print for info
No of pages: 384
Publisher: Windmill Books