A Memoir

Book - 2018
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Nov 30, 2020

Please be aware of the abuse triggers in this book. It is a first hand account and it leaves nothing out. The fact that it is true is inspiring. Watching someone overcome so much and accomplish so much is worth the read.

Nov 09, 2020

Such a good book. Being a memoir, I couldn't believe some of the horror stories the author went through, like true life horror. An intense example of how family belief and culture can have such a grip on one's own identity and experiences. It's incredible what she went through and how she became educated. How the clashing of worlds, thoughts, opinions can divide. Highly recommend!

Nov 01, 2020

The story was compelling and depressing at the same time. Depressing because how the parents believes & actions warped the lives of the children. A lot of gas lighting too. These reasons reduced the rating. Was very well written, where you could take the troubled trip thru her life with her and feel her struggle to find who she really was and to keep it with the price of 'loosing' the majority of her family. A lot of mental issues in the family that I could see/feel but not identify. I doubt if Tara knows where she really received her will to press forward out of the trap. Was control and love all twisted together.

Oct 26, 2020


Oct 18, 2020

Wow! Great book.

LPL_ReadersServices Sep 18, 2020

February 26, 2021 KU's Hall Center for the Humanities will host author Tara Westover at 7:30 pm, via Crowdcast!

Aug 12, 2020

I absolutely loved this book and got so much out of it. Westover's life story is disturbing at times, and her writing style is riveting. I found her to be surprisingly relatable, considering how little I thought we had in common. There were several strong moments that stood out in the book, but my favorite is when Westover talks about how the sacrifices she made to get an education were to have the right to hear and read and understand many perspectives and points of view, and then, to create her own mind. I found that really striking and powerful.

JCLSarahZ Aug 11, 2020

Tara's memoir was a heartbreaking, anxiety ridden horror story that I couldn't put down. I kept waiting for a glimmer of happiness to emerge, but despite her successes, Tara continues to be haunted by her upbringing.

Aug 01, 2020

I don't ever read memoirs, but I've been reading mainly bestsellers lately, so Educated just had to be on my to-read list.
To put it simply, reading Educated was an eye-opening experience. I have never encountered a family or even a single individual like Tara Westover's family. I've seen Facebook posts praising essential oils as though they have holy powers or posts condemning vaccines, but even they are not as close to the absurdity that curses the Westovers. With that in mind, it was absolutely enthralling to watch Tara detach from her roots and her family's beliefs as she pursued higher forms of education.
Although the memoirs frequently highlight the stories that negatively portray her family members, I especially liked how Tara also gifts us moments of tenderness and familial love. Even a simple phrase of dialogue that could have been easily omitted are left in the story, reminding readers that while her family can be absolutely nuts, they are still the people close to Tara's heart. Ultimately, this assists readers with understanding Tara's struggle to acknowledge the problems of her family and her eventual detachment from them.
Without going into excessive detail, reading Tara's life journey was captivating from beginning to end, and as its title suggests, Educated has the potential to inspire its readers to pursue an education, whether from school or simply from the world around them.

Jul 29, 2020

This is a heart wrenching memoir of a little girl who escapes her Misogynist father, brother and a compliant mother to find her own world and education. It is still surprising that in spite of this dysfunctional family, she still loves them all for a long time until the end. She loves her home and surrounding mountains. The writing is superb.

Only questions I had for her are: Why the author never questioned the blind faith of her family when their God punishes them again and again! - two major car accidents, fire to a brother and father, major accidents at work sites. Another curiosity I had was her mother, a conservative Mormon, adopts the Eastern religious origin concept of Chakra in he practice! May be she didn't know that Chakra came from Hindu/Buddhist writing!!

Jul 25, 2020

I cant believe I missed this when it came out but am happy to have read it now. Tara does not dilute the family ways and experiences. I found it hard to believe she did not realize her family was not normal but that is because I did not grow up completely indoctrinated from birth with little access to other opinions. I often had to remind myself of this. But because I did, It helped me to understand how her feelings and emotions were constantly at war. The influence of family cannot ever be discounted.

Jul 22, 2020

borrowed it from english teacher

Jul 21, 2020

Educated by Tara Westover is an inspiring memoir detailing Westover’s childhood and her journey to receiving education and finding her place in the world. Westover grew up in rural Idaho with limited connection to people outside of her family. Her parents were extreme survivalists and held many traditional beliefs. It was principles that led to Westover never receiving a formal education until age seventeen and never stepping foot into a hospital for the vast majority of her childhood. However, Westover’s relentless passion and determination led to her educating herself, getting into college, and even going to Harvard and Cambridge for her Ph.D. It was these experiences and opportunities that gave her the courage to finally set herself free from a life and family that had only hurt her.
Educated is easily one of my favorite books of all time. This memoir sheds light on a side of America that so many of us are unfamiliar with. For me, I thought this sort of survivalist style of living was a relic of the past. What is most inspiring is that despite all of the obstacles thrown at Westover that would normally be life-crushing, she finds the hope and courage to persist and work towards a goal that seems utmost unattainable. This book will make you laugh and cry and scream and feel every emotion there is to feel. Westover shares the lowest of low points in her life and every step she took to achieve all that she has done. Plotline aside, Westover has an amazing way with words and submerses you into her life and story. Educated is a must-read book!

Jul 18, 2020

While I did finish the book I found it quite hard to read as time went on. Such an incredibly dysfunctional family. I found myself hoping that something terrible would happen to one particular brother. Unfortunately the dysfunction will continue for this family as several of them have their own families and the cycle will most likely continue.

Jul 11, 2020

This book is moving and inspiring and amazing. It is hard to believe how Tara could even survive her childhood. I loved hearing about her growth as an academic and her slow climb toward normalcy and success. I did not get any sense that she was bragging about being a poor room-mate. If one realizes how isolated she was in her dysfunctional childhood, then it is totally understandable that she would need to learn all the social graces by trial and error. I would love to read a sequel.

Jul 06, 2020


Jun 27, 2020

I can’t be as eloquent as some of the other reviewers. I can only say powerful and immensely sad. Unfortunately I think families as disfunctional is this one; as plagued by mental illness as this one; by generations as scarred as this one are entirely too common as we would give credence. And yet, in spite of all of this strong, whole individuals like the author can still be forged in this furnace.
To say this is a great book is a massive understatement. The words she uses are almost poetic in the sentiments she evokes. The aura of dread and fear she constructs around the protagonist is palpable: we share the dread of what waits around the corner.
This book does end. Eventually. But it end too soon. There are too many un-answered questions: the conclusion comes too quickly: there should have been more.
Having written her memoir, one waits to see what Westover writes next. It’ll be well worth waiting for for sure.

Jun 21, 2020

Tara Westover's memoir, EDUCATED, is easily the best memoir I've ever read. I think it also has a place among my favorite books , of any genre. The story of Tara's upbringing and lack of preparation for entering school for the first time, as a college freshman, is brutally honest and beautifully written. There is no ego in her account of growing up at the foot of a mountain in Idaho, raised by a zealot father who practiced a feverish and unbelievably harsh version of Mormonism. As the youngest of seven children, to say her upbringing was unconventional, widely understates the truth.

This book should make readers kinder and more considerate of people they do not know. Snap judgements about the character, intelligence, or motives of others should be avoided. Tara's remarkable journey shows how impossible it is to understand the character, or any other quality of a person you you meet for the first time, or only know superficially. We were all raised in a unique microcosm that serves as our frame of reference for the world. Tara entered college without ever having learned that she should wash her hands after using the bathroom. It didn't mean she was stupid, filthy or any of a dozen other adjectives. It meant only that she had never been taught to do so. We are each only as worldly and knowledgeable as our experiences. Assumptions are often wrong. Tara's book illustrates this over and over.

Even though she ever attended school, before college, and wasn't even homeschooled, Tara must surely be one of the most versatile and accomplished women alive today. She has a doctorate degree from Cambridge, but could easily deliver a baby, run a backhoe, write a paper on theology, or prepare herbal remedies from scratch.

What she could not do was surrender her own truth for her fathers delusions. She pays a steep and heavy price for choosing her own mind to clarify reality, instead of blindly accepting her fathers doctrine. That doctrine was a dangerous way to raise 7 children. That Tara and her siblings even survived childhood feels like a miracle, which is exactly what her father believed it was.. This man literally risked his childrens lives and limbs because God and God alone would determine the outcome, and the full extent of the injuries. In his predetermined world, there was no need to exercise caution to prevent injuries . Even at great heights, God was the net, and no safety harnesses or hard hats were were allowed, as that would show you didn't trust in God's will or willingness to intervene.

Risking your own life to test God's willingness to intervene is one thing, but Risking your family is a whole different kind of reckless. But... The powerless don't have a choice, and children don't choose their parents. This was the life Tara was born into.

Tara's story is amazing. If you love to read, this is one story you do not want to miss.

I think everyone should jump for a chance to read this book.

Jun 16, 2020

I am part way through and find it is so gruesome and contains such sadism that I don't think I will be tough enough to continue. The book should have a warning on the cover.

Jun 01, 2020

This story left me going, what?! wow....

It's hard to believe that it's true so it blows your mind.

May 15, 2020

Wonderful - did for book club

May 14, 2020

Wow! One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The obstacles she was required to overcome are mind blowing. Just when I thought she could finally move forward, it always seemed that something was there to hold her back. Despite this, and maybe because of this, she flourished. She took an emotionally abusive childhood and turned it into a thriving well lived life. I have recommended this book to everyone !

Lord_Vad3r May 06, 2020

One of the diversions I find myself exploring on a regular basis are belief systems that are, well, outside of the mainstream. That was what initially attracted me to Tara Westover's Educated. The Westover children were raised with the constant expectation that the world would be ending soon and that they needed to be prepared.

Some people in this world can only maintain their drive by having some form of enemy: maybe it's the government, socialists, the medical establishment, whatever. If that enemy doesn't materialize they will either lose all focus or shift their efforts to demonizing a new group. This is part of the reason many of the Westover kids didn't have birth certificates, vaccinations, or a public school education. Their early education was learning to read, burying fuel, storing ammo, canning peaches, or helping to prep homeopathic treatments. Everything in the family was dictated by their father, who may suffer from bipolar disorder, and his oscillations between mania and despondency. The specter of mental illness also manifests in the persona of Shawn, the abusive and controlling older brother.

The expectation of a woman in Ms. Westover's family would not have been education but marriage, children, and midwifery. In her recounting of the story, her choices first to attend college and second to call out her brother's abuses end up viewed as betrayals to the family.

To some extent her inner struggle, trying to discover who she really is an reconcile that with both her family and the world at large, is something we all go through. At some point in the process of becoming an adult you have to decide what you stand for and then hold your ground. Part of me feels like you can only truly experience this struggle if you are lucky enough to have been born into a society where a daily struggle for survival doesn't demand your focus for every waking moment.

Educated is very reminiscent of Glass Castle. I am always impressed by people who have the fortitude to shrug off the shackles of the past and defy expectations to become something more. Ms. Westover, if she can be taken at her word, meets that criteria. If you like stories that feature a coming of age story line, you should consider reading Educated.

May 01, 2020

One feels great sympathy for the author having been born into a family with members who have serious mental health issues as well as great admiration for how the author worked so hard to overcome huge obstacles. Mid-way through the book, the author has made it to college. It is surprising to read what a terrible room mate she was. She brags of never doing her share of the chores and of her neglect of personal hygiene. The author then buries her readers in superflous detail of her studies of each subject and her worries concerning quizzes. Boring...boring...boring .... just had to stop reading.

Apr 23, 2020

If you enjoyed reading The Glass Castle, you will find that you cannot put this book down. You find yourself cheering for the perseverance that Tara had to enable her to overcome such a dysfunctional childhood. I could not fathom that some children survive a childhood like she did and are still able to succeed in life.

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