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books and reading

Educated

Title: Educated

Author: Tara Westover

Genre: memoir

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: book set in multiple countries

How in the world did it take me so long to read this book? Of course, I’ve heard about it, but I never really read a blurb of it. I thought it had something to do with the education system and how bad it was. Totally my fault for not investigating more. I started listening to this book, but I couldn’t find enough time to do so, and I was dying to read more and more and more, so I got it on ebook, so I could fly through it. This book is exactly how a memoir should be written. I’ve read a lot, and most are just a sequence of events retelling, but this one is so cleverly crafted.

From Goodreads: Tara Westover was 17 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 forbade hospitals, 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 one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important 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. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated┬áis an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of 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.

Holy. Smokes. My jaw just dropped so many times while reading this. The terror that Tara went through really is indescribable. The mental and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her family is horrific. And although her family is Mormon and her dad is bipolar, Tara never presents these facts as FACTS about Mormonism or people with bipolar disorder. The book is a representation of Tara’s experience only, not about Mormonism or bipolar disorder as a whole. She knows her experience was singular. I could not put this book down. The story itself is captivating, but it was also so well-written. Absolutely compelling.