Cover Image: Educated


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Member Reviews

One of the best yet most deeply tragic novels I’ve ever read. I resisted reading Educated for too, too long given all of the rave reviews, but Westover’s story and her ability to recount it in such a captivating way is simply incredible.

Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC!
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The Sound of Gravel, but updated? I didn't find this book as compelling as most, unfortunately. There was opportunity for something more full, but this felt tinny in forced way.
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This memoir is popular for a reason. It's REALLY good. It captivates you instantly and you become immersed in the author's story. If memoirs are not usually your favorite genre, this is a good one to try first!
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I have seen this book everywhere and heard many great things about it. It is not an easy read, but I think a must read as it touches on such important subjects. Growing up, reading and education were such an integral part of my life, and I now realize that it is something I took for granted. These are not luxuries afforded to all. I applaud Westover for sharing her story and admire her ability to learn.
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Educated by Tara Westover (4/5)

Educated is a memoir of Tara’s life and how this was characterised by her Mormon parents that were constantly preparing for the ‘End of Days’. She had no birth certificate, her family did not believe in hospitals, medicine or schooling. Educated shows the tough journey for Tara between wanting to become educated and move away from her strict and sometimes violent family and between wanting to remain loyal to her flesh and blood. This book is extremely unique and not like one I’ve read before. Westover’s story is harrowing and heartbreaking and often you forget the events that happened to her, it almost seems fictional. I do, however, think some of it was rather farfetched (if you’ve read you may know what I mean) concerning her education and the schools/ universities she gets into. That being said Westover’s writing style is enthralling and I read this in a couple of sitting. I do think some of the siblings and their partners could have been focused on more however this doesn’t take away anything from how powerful this book is. I think it would be great as a documentary/film.
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Excellent memoir that read like fiction at times. What an inspiring story of overcoming so many obstacles to follow your dreams!
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I really wanted to like this book because after having heard about Westover's life in the media and in book reviews, especially after all the critical acclaim, I admired Westover a lot for overcoming her upbringing and her family and becoming educated despite all odds (which is something that is close to my heart and highly valued by my family as well, although under vastly different circumstances than Westover's). However, when I picked up the book, her style of writing just didn't resonate with me. It was personal, which should have been fitting for a memoir, but for some reason, the writing felt messy and chaotic, which distracted from the story and the characters in her life that shaped her early life. Nonetheless, it's still a really important story, being born into a family whose beliefs are so far removed from what most of us can even conceive, so I think it's a necessary read.
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This book was an inspiration. To have such a beginning and still persevered is a motivation to me. At times I thought the storyline was a bit boring but I was still interested in reading. I still wanted to know about what was going on.
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A must read.  It is such a captivating book.  There is a reason it stayed so long on the NYT bestsellers list.  It is raw and you get to go on a journey of self-discovery; it is a beautiful, deep story.
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.  I had been looking forward to reading this for quite some time so was very excited to be gifted a copy. This was a tough book for me to read and stay engaged in.  I am typically the kind of reader that once into a book can not put it down.  I put this down multiple times and thought about not finishing it.  It was a tough read for me.  The book was well written and I am sure mirrors many families throughout the world however it was not a "feel" good story.  I know many people rave about this book and I feel guilty leaving a review that isn't stellar but just not a book for me.
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“Learning in our family was entirely self-directed: you could learn anything you could teach yourself, after your work was done. Some of us were more disciplined than others. I was one of the least disciplined, so by the time I was ten, the only subject I had studied systematically was Morse code, because Dad insisted that I learn it. ‘If the lines are cut, we’ll be the only people in the valley who can communicate,’ he said, though I was never quite sure, if we were the only people learning it, who we’d be communicating with.”

Educated is a memoir by New York Times best-selling author, Tara Westover. Born into a Mormon family, Westover is raised in Buck Peak, Idaho by a father who has morphed from serious, physically impressive and independent-minded young man, to a man with (undiagnosed) bipolar disorder and paranoia about the Government and the Medical Establishment, who are clearly “Agents of the Devil”. Formal education results in getting “brainwashed by socialists and Illuminati spies”.

Her mother is a talented herbalist and an unregistered midwife, who initially believes in educating her children but acquiesces to her husband’s demands for practical skills. Their father instils in his family a deep mistrust of phones, doctors, any type of government documentation or registration, and his determination to be prepared for when the Feds come to get them; the threat of the coming Days of Abomination require the family to bottle fruit and put up preserves, and each prepare “head for the hills” bags.

When the third of her older brothers abandons the family, to go to college (against his father’s will), ten-year-old Tara is drafted into working in her father’s junkyard, where safety is left to God: “I tried to pry loose the small length of copper tubing. I almost had it when Dad flung a catalytic converter. I leapt aside, cutting my hand on the serrated edge of a punctured tank. I wiped the blood on my jeans and shouted, ‘Don’t throw them here! I’m here!’ Dad looked up, surprised. He’d forgotten I was there. When he saw the blood, he walked over to me and put a hand on my shoulder. ‘Don’t worry, honey,’ he said. ‘God is here, working right alongside us. He won’t let anything hurt you. But if you are hurt, then that is His will.’”

Where there are injuries, be they penetrative wounds or third-degree burns, the injured drag themselves to be treated with rescue remedy and herbals by their mother. “Mother always said that medical drugs are a special kind of poison, one that never leaves your body but rots you slowly from the inside for the rest of your life. She told me if I took a drug now, even if I didn’t have children for a decade, they would be deformed.”

As an adolescent, large in her life is a judgemental brother who revels in physical and mental cruelty, while an absent brother encourages Tara to take a qualifying exam for Brigham Young College, despite having never been to school. After she excels in academia, the former becomes the cause of a major rift in the family; the latter never fails to support.
While her father allows Tara to audition for musicals (love or pride?), his reaction to her decision to go to college is disapproval: “The Lord has called me to testify,” he said. “He is displeased. You have cast aside His blessings to whore after man’s knowledge. His wrath is stirred against you. It will not be long in coming” When she wins a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, he reminds her to credit her (non-existent) home schooling; as she boards the plane for England, his main concern is that he will be unable to bring her home to safety “when the End comes”.

Once she has gained academic qualifications, she comes to realise: “My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” 

It’s said that truth is often stranger than fiction; sometimes, what Westover described is so shocking, it is blackly funny: Having had a major motor vehicle accident during an all-night drive, causing his family multiple injuries, the following year, her father insists on another late-night interstate drive: “’Shouldn’t we drive slower?’ Mother asks. Dad grins. ‘I’m not driving faster than our angels can fly.’ The van is still accelerating. To fifty, then to sixty” with the inevitable, identical result.

Westover’s book will leave some readers incredulous that such families exist in modern times, and may beg the question: Given that public education is freely available, and that most would consider the provision of basic education the responsibility of every parent, and the right of every child, then is preventing one’s child from gaining this not child abuse? What Westover has achieved is nothing short of inspirational. A stunning read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Random House.
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Heartwrenching story. I had a difficult time putting it down, and an even harder time believing it to be real! Beautifully written and I want to know more about Tara's journey after the book ended.
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This one took me a while to read, and I actually had to take a break while reading it. Once I picked it up again, I was quickly transported right back into Tara's world and I realized why I took a break-- it was exhausting. The entire time I was reading this I kept thinking, this is insane. There was one chapter early on where she talked about getting to take piano & dance lessons and I literally got teary because I was so happy for her. Tara's strength and resilience is truly remarkable.
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What an incredible and inspiring true story of #TaraWestover and her #education in the broadest of terms. This is not simply her classroom education. This is her education on the mountain top, in the junkyard, in the classroom with her family and classmates. It’s a story of nature vs. nurture and breaking through the confines of family and the life they set out for you. 

Born in Idaho on a Mountaintop to survivalist parents, who were off the grid she knew no other way of life. 

Her older brother decided to go get himself into college and she decided to follow his path. She got into BYU as a homeschooler and at 17 she stepped into a classroom for the very first time. She had never experienced text books. She didn’t know she needed to read them, she just thought she needed to look at the pictures and she never heard of the word Holocaust before, or know anything about the actual Holocaust. She set herself off to educate herself about it and so so much more. She traveled to Harvard and Cambridge where she eventually earned a PHD in history.

This is so inspiring and I highly recommend reading this and following her personal path  to Educate herself while asking myself what else can I be doing to continue to educate myself and my children daily. 

Thank you to #NetGalley and #raandomhouse for an arc in exchange for an honest review
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Everyone should read this book. It's worth the hype and at once gut-wrenching and inspiring. Reading about Tara's family and religious experiences growing up was very difficult but extremely eye-opening.
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I heard many people singing the praises of this book, and I wasn't surprised when I realized they were right. Learning about the author's life and reading about her trials was difficult because I could reconcile with the reality that a person experienced such a hardship - even though I am not naive and understands that everyone has a struggle.
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A harrowing and heartbreaking memoir about life in a survivalist, ultra mormon family. 

I binged this audio in the span of hours, unable to stop listening. Tara's childhood was one that I can not comprehend and had trouble imagining as truth. I was enraptured by her disturbing recollections, her feelings and my own reactions to them. This was dually difficult to listen to and yet impossible to put down. 

Until the age of 17, Tara Westover never went to school. Her father was convinced that the government was out to get them so his children were homeschooled. The Westover's idea of homeschooling was not traditional by any means. It involved very limited reading and math. Instead the children were taught their father's interpretations of the bible and life lessons on preparing for the End of Days, canning fruit and stewing herbs, salvaging metal in the family junkyard and preparing for an inevitable siege on their property. 

Some of Tara's recollections seem wild and outlandish but she does explain that many of her memories come from her own journals which were tainted by her family's actions and views and her family whom always spun tales to suit their own desired outcomes. I definitely had questions and wished some things were explained fully but there is no denying that Tara's childhood was wrought with mental and physical abuse, blatant brainwashing by her father and her continual subjugation by both her father and older brother. 

I applaud her desire to be educated and her willingness to go into therapy to explore her beliefs, her upbringing, her family and the chains they formed around her. Overall, a powerful memoir and Tara's formidable journey of being self-taught and overcoming her lack of education, ultimately going on to accomplish great things in academia was definitely inspirational.
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Educated by Tara Westover is a powerful memoir in which Tara shares her difficult journey toward education and independence. 

Tara was born to survivalists, who think of hospitals, schools, insurance as pure evil. Her father has been preparing for the End of Days through making survivalist kits. Her mother was a midwife and a healer. Until she was 17 years old, Tara never set foot in a classroom. When she hears her older brother, Tyler, talk about going to school and studying, she realizes that her life will be better if she can get education. 

Tara has to choose between her identity as a dedicated Mormon, an obedient daughter, and her identity as a woman who wants to see the world, to learn and to think for herself. She suffers a lot in order to get her education. The knowledge she gains through studying helps her see the world from a different perspective rather than that of her father. 

This book is emotional, important and very powerful. I was amazed by the author’s honestly and bravery in the retelling of what she went through. 

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved hearing the story of Tara's life as a mormon fundamentalist. The things she and her family experienced were so shocking. It was inspiring to read how she taught herself things and eventually decided to go to college. She has to be such a strong woman to share this story.
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Tara Westover’s book “Educated” is a distressing & discomforting - alarming & startling exposure of her Mormon fundamentalist family.   Her journey is incredible and inspiring. It's wonderful to read how an individual overcomes their past w/out even realizing till later that their past was not normal, not mainstream at all. I highly recommend this book!

Also thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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