Educated - Tara Westover


By Tara Westover

  • Release Date: 2018-02-20
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 6,344 Ratings



NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post O: The Oprah MagazineTime • NPR • Good Morning America San Francisco ChronicleThe Guardian The Economist Financial TimesNewsdayNew York PosttheSkimmRefinery29BloombergSelfReal Simple Town & CountryBustlePastePublishers WeeklyLibrary JournalLibraryReadsBookRiot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

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

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her 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. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. 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.

“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue

“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review


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  • Very good read

    By Fish55555555
    I love reading memoirs and this one was excellent. Tara Westover is a very talented writer who has a wonderful ability to weave the telling of her fascinating life story about being raised in a junkyard on a remote mountainside in Idaho by extremist Mormon parents with her thoughts, feelings and reflections on it all, both in the past and the present. Her descriptions are so vivid and so rich that I felt I was right there with her at Buck’s Peak staring up at the Princess, observing her emotional and physical interactions with her family members, feeling her intense pain and confusion as she grew from an innocent child who wholly believed and trusted her parents and their ideologies to an unconfident young women who questioned them and who sought her own answers, even though the seeking filled her with guilt. Her story is compelling, tragic, insane, inspiring and, unbelievably, true. The events that unfolded in each chapter were so captivating, the intricate relationships with her family members so complex and her emotions and internal struggles so honest and raw, I couldn’t put the book down. With each page I turned, I found I cared more about what her incredulous life would deal her next and how she would possibly handle it. After finishing her story, I am touched most by her ability to so bravely put it all, each lurid and shocking detail, out there in black and white for all to read knowing full well that harsh judgements would probably be made against her family, and possibly even her. It couldn’t have been easy but I, for one, am very glad she did. I think she is an inspiration. I know she is definitely Educated. Ps. I think the girl in the mirror is still there. She wrote the book. Otherwise it would have been written by Dr. Tara Westover, right?
  • Educated is self discovery

    By El Profe 55
    This book made me realize that adversity is your education. That when you ponder your upbringing in a dysfunctional family, there are positive traits which molded you to who you are in life. My hope is that anyone who reads this book will not only remember the negative experiences in one’s life, but those which made you resilient to prevail. This is true education and valuable.
  • Life is stranger than fiction

    By MN book lover
    Many times I found myself wondering how this story could be true. A riveting story.
  • Amazing read

    By EmmeeJ83
    Tara is one tough person and this book was such a great read. What she went through in her life so far is shocking and amazing. Thank you for telling this story.
  • Twisted religious fanaticism

    By Betzzg
    Shockingly vivid and violent. It should be on the required reading list for all students of psychology. I am hoping the authors memories are magnified in the mirror and not factoids from her journal under the bed.
  • No sense at all

    By Camacho9999
    Perplexed I read each page of this book that I felt has been written full of rage, hate and arrogance while feeling the center of the world and as a flawless person, making herself a victim of an unfair world. Violence in life comes many times from lack of knowledge and insecurity. It is a important social problem around the globe. I think that morbidly narrating scenes of violence in such details, like a soap opera, does not help over the problem. It seems that she believes she is an exception in this world but I am sure she is not the first nor the only person coming from poor and violent backgrounds to get degrees from top schools. I am amazed of her memory in such details during her childhood, that must be magic, and also her strict routine for years writing each and every experience that affected her. For my taste and education, my opinion is that the memoir is disrespectful with her family members who get criticized over and over by their mistakes and she has done no mistake in her life but only by other’s fault. What I could find in this narrative here is that she, as a Judge, finds their parents and brothers guilty as she charges on her accounts. I find that she, after getting educated as she puts it, instead of trying to help her family members who suffered from violence she made a case of honor against her brother. Maybe, putting her thoughts on her dignity aside and caring more about the possible sickness in her family to help them, the results could be happier. What it looks like is that she blames her family for a poor and isolated life. Maybe their parents did what they felt was best within their own limits, including shallow knowledge. Being just a child she diagnosed bipolarity on her father without being a psychologist or psychiatric and confirmed it when she took Psychology 101. She could solve the mysteries of accidents only by her logics, like CSI TV series.The author has not realized that one person expressing that may be feeling glad for the death of a brother, as she does, might be a reflection of a violent mind or that something is wrong. Even though I believe that she used a copywriter to give prose to the writings it cannot disguise her bitterness about her family life. I think that honest and intelligent people do not get blown away with more knowledge but rather keep on being humble after developing a new quality life, this does not seem to be the case. The evolution of our world based on technology and innovation has taken further steps in educating more and more people; also, the law has taken into consideration the solemn right for education; there is more awareness to fight violence in many forms; there is less poverty in the world, with worse distribution though but I think there is no need to blame those who had less opportunity back then because it may seem unnecessary and awful. I believe that what the world needs is the convergence of more initiatives and real hand-on contributions to those programs already working for fighting domestic violence and better education, not making money through the marketing of a private experience in a book written with feelings that may reflect inferiority complex and specially without any proposition to solve mayor social issues like education and violence. It is also strange that a book called Educated only has the word Thanks in the Acknowledgement section, the only moment when a reader like me can get a good feeling on the text.
  • Educated

    By tinguaro1221
    Very awakening to see how people convert their faith into a blind obsession which hurts deeply people who love them
  • Educated

    By Scarlett90211
    I was anxious to read this book,honestly I was. I read like what some people’s review said, I was like this is a must read. At the beginning it was great but I lost interest a few pages after the young girl went with her grandmother...if anyone reads this please try the book for yourselves because like I say the book does have high rating and others have praised it but it’s just not one that can get and keep my attention. ✌🏽
  • Intoxicating

    By Beccabf
    Reading Dr. Westover's story I felt I was living it alongside her. I've lived parts of it in reality; the beauty of her prose heightens my understanding of these shared and parallel experiences. Dr. Westover gives a powerful voice to the ambiguity of the human experience, reminding readers that, while reality is subjective, every experience creates meaning and gives shape to our lives.