Educated by Tara Westover
A Memoir

80%

12 Critic Reviews

Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests. That someone who grew up in her circumstances could achieve as much as she has is astonishing. All the same, readers who enjoyed more mundane backgrounds will empathise.
-The Economist

Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”USA Today
 
“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Westover brings readers deep into this world, a milieu usually hidden from outsiders.”—The Economist

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.
 

About Tara Westover

See more books from this Author
 
Published February 20, 2018 by Random House. 337 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Critic reviews for Educated
All: 12 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Nov 12 2017

We learn about a third of the way through the book that she kept journals, but she is a bit vague about a few things...An astonishing account of deprivation, confusion, survival, and success.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Laurie Hertzel on Feb 23 2018

In the end she seems to accept that in order to be her own person, she must break with her family. But the rawness of this last section suggests that despite her amazing transformation and this powerful book, Westover’s remarkable education is not yet complete.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Y.S. Fing on Feb 02 2018

If writing memoir is not the picking of the scab itself, it’s only partly the healing, another rendering of the obsessive cycle. That may be why people love memoir generally, and (I expect) why they will love this one in particular.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Michelle Dean on Feb 14 2018

There are insights here that could compete with JD Vance’s problematic and more ideological Hillbilly Elegy – if only they were more directly articulated.

Read Full Review of Educated: A Memoir | See more reviews from Guardian

The Economist

Good
on Feb 15 2018

Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests. That someone who grew up in her circumstances could achieve as much as she has is astonishing. All the same, readers who enjoyed more mundane backgrounds will empathise.

Read Full Review of Educated: A Memoir | See more reviews from The Economist

https://bookmunch.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by Lucille Turner on Feb 22 2018

...the writing is beautiful. Rooted in the landscape of the Westover world it is earthy, resonant and intuitive: a narrative of truth. It doesn’t let you go until the final page, and even then, it doesn’t let you go.

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https://www.20somethingreads.com

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on Feb 22 2018

Westover’s writing style is straightforward, even as she recounts heart-wrenching details and abusive events. Her quest for autonomy, learning, understanding and acceptance can break your heart, even as it has you cheering for her empowerment. EDUCATED is a terrific, if harrowing, read.

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https://www.irishtimes.com

Good
Reviewed by Anna Carey on Feb 24 2018

She knows that her education has brought pain as well as fulfilment. But that education has given her ability to define her life and tell her own unforgettable story, and for that readers everywhere should be grateful.

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https://www.theatlantic.com

Above average
Reviewed by Ann Hulbert on Mar 13 2018

Tara westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind, yet page after page describes the maiming of bodies...

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https://www.express.co.uk

Excellent
Reviewed by Charlotte Heathcote on Feb 23 2018

Tara sees no true alternative to choosing freedom, knowledge and the opportunity to forge her own path in life. But that she is ever put into such an unthinkable position makes for a shocking and powerfully moving memoir.

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https://www.newsday.com

Good
Reviewed by DAN CRYER on Feb 23 2018

Whether narrating scenes of fury and violence or evoking rural landscapes or tortured self-analysis, Westover writes with uncommon intelligence and grace. “Educated” recounts one of the most improbable and fascinating journeys I’ve read in recent years.

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https://www.thenational.ae

Above average
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on Mar 02 2018

Occasionally a little repetitive and in need of a tighter edit, these quibbles aside, quite frankly it’s extraordinary that Westover has managed to wrest such a meaningful and evocative narrative from the chaos of her origins.

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