A Memoir

Book - 2018
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"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"--
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780399590504
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

mko123 Mar 26, 2018

Tara grows up in rural idaho with a fanatical religious father, a deferential mother, and a slew of sisters and brothers, Sean being the most charming, yet dangerous. Tara learns about physics by ducking metal objects in the junk yard being flung by her scrapper father, and she learns to read by... Read More »

Born into a survivalist family, Tara Westover never set foot in a formal classroom until the age of 17. As she began to distance herself from her family’s beliefs, Tara found a world of knowledge and information waiting for her. A sometimes heart wrenching read that is a testament to the power an... Read More »

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vm510 Jun 28, 2018

The last two thirds of this book are glorious and I read without stopping for hours. Westover traces her upbringing in a survivalist Mormon family that does not believe in the "Medical Establishment" and does not send their children to school. They suffer through serious accidents, all to be solved with her mother's herbs and a belief in God. Her brother is abusive and violent - and her parents blame her.
Westover starts to slowly disentangle herself from her family, attending BYU. She loses herself learning about history, attains more opportunities studying abroad, and is ultimately awarded a PhD. I loved hearing about her education; her ignorance supplanted by discovery. As she learns more and questions her parents' beliefs, her family tries to "save her." Growing up in this kind of family - and especially as a girl/woman - there is gaslighting to the extent that Westover questions her own reality... that maybe succumbing and not losing her family is better. She sifts through these thoughts, showing us that getting an education offers you opportunities to construct your own mind and make your own decisions.

Jun 19, 2018

Every time I thought something was too painful to read, I thought how much more painful it must have been to write.

Jun 12, 2018

Ami-Read by end of 2018

Jun 05, 2018

Fascinating read about someone growing up fairly isolated from the modern world in a highly dysfunctional family. The author has a long struggle to break free from the brainwashed indoctrination of her domineering father. There is mental illness, sibling abuse, domestic violence and absolutely no real homeschooling provided by the parents. Its inspiring to learn how far the author has come in such a short time in the 'real' world vs the one her father taught her about.

May 25, 2018

This is an extraordinary book relating and extraordinary life which is still young. I hope many, many people will read it, especially women. There are probably not many of us who have lived a life in any way similar. The extremity of the radicalization of her father against any civilizing institution is shocking. The acceptance of generations of violence perpetrated on siblings by one of their own and the total refusal of their parents to even accept that it existed is stunning. Neither of those things is rare in 2018. We have 30% of the country that denies climate change, denies women's voices, identities...

Please read this if you are a woman. We all have some levels of PTSD. This book will help, and fill you with gratitude for only being allowed to go to school.

May 19, 2018

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 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 if the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes from severing ties with those closest to you.

(Description, slightly edited, is taken from the inner flap of the hardcover book jacket.)

This is a very frustrating book. Everything that takes place, nearly everything, is frustrating. Nearly everyone in the book is frustrating. Particularly frustrating is the author who doesn't seem to recognize the events for what they are.

SPPL_Blanchity May 18, 2018

This feeds my morbid curiosity, and I spent every free moment reading until I finished.

May 15, 2018

Powerful indictment of religious fanaticism, equally powerful testament of how transformative an education can be for a person. Well done, Tara! (Recommended further reading, "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance)

May 05, 2018

Westover’s memoir tells a coming-of-age story of the youngest child in a Mormon ‘survivalist’ family with seven children in remote Idaho. Quixotic best describes her father; a strong personality to whom her mother mostly succumbs out of religious belief. There’s danger in their lifestyle, a haphazard approach to education, but an abiding sense of family that makes breaking away hard.

A pretty amazing tale! Tara’s journey to find her true self is not an easy one. I’m glad she’s shared her journey and that she’s so aware, now, of what her years of ‘education’ have wrought.

JCLMelodyMK May 02, 2018

I found the story of Tara Westover very engaging. This look into a survivalist Morman family was something I have never seen.

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DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”


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