Book Review: Educated

Book Title: Educated.

Author: Tara Westover.

Genre: Memoir.

Publisher: Random House.

Publication Date: February 18, 2018.

Pages: 352 pages.

The book commenced when Tara, the protagonist was nine years old. Her family was strangely different, secluded from the rest of the neighborhood. One thing that sets them apart is that they are not educated, the father sees education as a vice and would not let his children get stained, it’s as bad as four out of his seven children not having birth certificates, he greatly opposed everything that had to do with the government and education was inclusive.

Tara’s grandmother sees her father’s philosophy to life as outrageous and manages to smuggle her into school. Her mother succumbs to her father’s coaxing and learns midwifery without a license, it gives her life a new meaning, and she starts earning. Though Tara’s father believed that women should not work, he had no problem with his wife earning.

Tara’s father suffers from bipolar disorder and this affect the family. He is extreme and a Mormon fanatic. None of his children got vaccinated because he believes it is one of the devil’s schemes, he put his faith before safety to the detriment of his wife and children, he vehemently refuses to be taken to the hospital when he had a severe fire accident, none of his children was birthed in a hospital, to him doctors were a part of the government conspiracy.

He had a way of constantly manipulating and restraining his children from soaring beyond the mountains where they lived, to him, they belonged to the mountains and should be kept from the corruption in the world.

Tara and two of her brothers, Tyler and Richard get an education, but not without resistance and guilt tripping from the family. In one of her brother’s letters to her, he writes, “Our parents are held down by the chains of abuse, manipulation, and control…They see change as dangerous and will exile anyone who asks for it. This is a perverted idea of family loyalty… they claim faith, but this is not what the gospel teaches. Keep safe. We love you.”

Tara is constantly torn between her family and the woman she’s becoming. Against all odds she yields herself to education. Without any prior form of education save for the incomplete homeschooling from her mother, she gets admitted into BYU College at seventeen, does exceptionally well and gets into Cambridge, she finally attains a PhD from Harvard at the age of twenty seven.

Getting into college presented Tara a larger and different view to life, all her life she had seen the world through her father’s harsh lens, now she saw the world differently, she was no longer the girl her father raised, she was educated.

I would give “Educated” a five star rating, given that it is based on a true story and the writer is sincere enough to let us know the slight differences between the various accounts of herself and her siblings. Her style of writing is very engaging, reading the book, I was endeared and drawn into her world, from her father’s junkyard in the BucksPeak mountains to the ancient beautiful walls of Harvard. I felt her different emotions, of constantly having to choose between herself and her family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Educated” and I recommend it for you if you love to read.



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