Cover Image: Educated

Educated

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Although I like to read non fiction, I don’t read many autobiographical ones. I read this because of its popularity. This is a powerful memoir of the author’s life. What she describes about her life is unimaginable. But I couldn’t stop reading. She was raised by a family who lived a survivalist simple life and who did not believe in modern health care or formal education. I wanted, wished for there to be an end to the physical and emotional pain that she kept enduring. I was in awe with the strength she found to rise up and get a formal education and change her life. She removed herself from her family. But I can imagine to myself that she was torn by both her family bonds and unspoken obligations and her desire to escape. And that even then she would feel guilty by the twisted emotions even though she shouldn’t.
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, publisher and Netgalley.com.  Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Tara Westover's memoir is an astounding look at growing up with a parent that is trying to cope with undiagnosed mental illness who thinks that the government is out to get them and the answer lies in extremist Mormonism.

She survived incredible situations to be able to get an education and grow.

5 out of 5 stars.  Highly recommend.
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I don’t usually read much nonfiction, but I really enjoyed this memoir.  It was interesting and a little horrifying at parts to read about Tara’s childhood and things that she went through. The book gave a good glimpse into the way others live and was inspiring to see what all Tara was able to overcome. This book has motivated me to read other memoirs and I would definitely recommend Educated to others.
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Tara Westover was the youngest child born into an extremely religious Mormon family. Her father ruled their household believing the government was evil, the world was coming to an end, and he alone knew the word of God. Nothing about her childhood was easy. She never went to school and her homeschooling consisted of working as a slave in her father's junkyard. Broken bones, horrific burns, and even severe accidents did not justify any kind of medical care. Her mother's salves and ointments were all that stood between debilitating injury or death.
Somehow, Tara and two of her brothers seek to become educated, and against all odds, they succeed. Tara first stepped into a classroom when she was seventeen, and for the next ten years, the push and pull between her old life and new life create unbearable tension. She goes back and forth between wanting nothing more than to be with her family and then understanding how wrong they are. Tara's self-doubt is debilitating, as her parents refuse to acknowledge many of the awful truths of her life.
The author is forthcoming with the fact that many of her memories may be flawed, but even if only half of her recollections are indeed true, it was still a harrowing life. Reading about how overwhelmed she was at college, not knowing a thing, I have to say that she must have been a genius because if that was me, I definitely would have flunked out. Some of her better memories from her childhood also seemed just a little suspect. Some of the things her parents let her do seem at odds with the way she was being brought up. Maybe she remembers the good times as being a little better than what they were, and the bad times being a little worse. Either way, it's a tragic tale that highlights the fact that you are at the mercy of your family as a child and the power of education.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. It honestly was a lot better than I thought it was going to be . I heard different reviews so I went in optimistic and it paid off.
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Okay so this book. This book is one of the best memoirs I have read in a long time. 
I don’t even know how to put into words the fabulousness of this book. Everyone should read it. 

How do you even begin to rate non fiction? This one though definitely deserves 5 stars without a doubt. 

I felt for Tara and the life she had to endure. 
I can’t even fathom how Tara Westover even survived her childhood even her teenage years.
 
I am so glad she found her bravery to stand up for what she believes in and escape the dysfunctional life her father has raised her in. 

Tara is truly a fascinating person. To have had no schooling and still be able to pass the ACT and go to college. I mean to go to 3 different college including Cambridge and Harvard and earn her PhD is just truly amazing.

Everyone needs to read this book. This story needed to be told.
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What a gripping book! Once I started it, I found I couldn't put it down until the end.

Powerful reading - a young woman's journey to finding the truth in herself and her worl.d
Harrowing in parts with the intense abuse and cruelty she lived through, and initially accepted as "normal". But throughout her "grittiness" shines through.

A real inspiration to anybody - you don't have to accept the circumstances you were born into - you can rise above them and become the person you deserve to be.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me the chance to read this book.
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A great book of how a young women educates herself and makes it into a good college and discovering things she never knew before.
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I’ve heard good things about this book and it doesn’t disappoint. The story told from the perspective of a young girl growing up in a large family who is poor.  Her family is devotedly religious and live off the grid. They view the government as the enemy and take the Bible literally.  Their children aren’t formally educated as they help work the farm. The grandmother sees something in the girl, that she is capable of so much more if only she had the opportunity to learn. She offers her the chance to leave with them for Arizona, a chance to be more than she can be under her father’s care.

This is a touching story that really draws you in not only to the family’s plight but that of the little girl.  This is an engaging story that keeps you waiting for what happens next.
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Thank you to Penguin Random House, NetGalley, and the author for the review copy of this book.  All opinions in this review are my own.

I expected Educated to be a memoir about how Tara used education to break away from her father’s beliefs.  While education is the opportunity for Tara to escape, this is more of a memoir about abuse.  This book was eye-opening.  I am amazed by what Tara was able to accomplish, but there were times I had to put it down and come back to it later because of the content.  I think Educated is worth reading, but a reader should be prepared for the content within this book.
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This was an absolutely fascinating read! I don't normally read non-fiction but sometimes real life can be stranger than fiction, and that's the case with this book. Raised by Mormon survivalists, Tara Westover never spent a day in school until her first day of university. This was an amazing achievement for a girl who had to learn everything on her own. The story of her life is of horrendous abuse, and even so she loved her parents and wanted to believe the best of her family. I felt many different emotions while reading this book and I have nothing but the greatest respect for Tara Westover and her achievements in life; not only her academic achievements but also her emotional ones. 

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Random House through Netgalley for a review copy.
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Wow, the things Tara went through were heartbreaking. I can't believe she grew up that way. This book dealt with mental health, abuse, family drama etc. I thought her determination to keep learning more even though she went most of her childhood barely learning anything is inspiring. She had a lot of will power to keep going despite her struggles. I received this copy from netgalley for a honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing.
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“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.”

It is, isn’t it? We make excuses for them repeatedly and let them hurt us and go back to them over and over again. Or, we take them back when they come running to us though we know how it’s going to end.  What is it about love that makes us blind?

Educated is a great book. Tara Westover overcomes immense odds – religion, patriarchy, abuse, poverty – to get an education. Not just any random degree but a PhD. In fact, in her family of seven siblings, there are three PhDs. It’s a random fact that I found immensely interesting.

The writing is clever, though a bit meandering and technical at times. Some things do seem slightly far-fetched but I assume her life has been scrutinised enough and so I’m going to believe the book. 

This memoir shows you how important education is in a person’s life. As someone who grew up hearing everyday that the only way you can keep your head high and think for yourself is with good education, I respect it.

This book also portrays a significant part of every child’s relationship with their parents – that moment when the child realises that the parent does not, actually, know everything. And that they’re not always right. I know I’ve had such moments, haven’t you?

I find it immensely frustrating that the brother who abused her is roaming free and probably continuing the pattern. I also don’t understand how Tara forgives one parent but not the other. I felt both were horrible, in their own ways.

I always mock memoirs by people in their 20s. Because, come on, stop being so pretentious. but this is an exception. This is a powerful book of both horror and hope. I recommend.
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As I began to read Tara Westover’s account of her early life, I thought “oh my god. This is my family”. Her memoir reads like a work of fiction, and seems completely unbelieveable. Her words quickly resembled my childhood, and I drew many parallels between her life and my own. Further in the book, I contemplated why she continued to go back home to resolve the tensions that she perceived she had created and it dawned on me that I had done similar things with my family until I decided to totally write them off. I tried time and time again to redeem myself when I did nothing wrong. Her book made me realize that and showed me that sometimes the family you choose is worth more than the family you didn’t choose.
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Educated was an interesting read! Educated provided insight into an unhealthy family dynamic. The memoir follows Tara through her life and shows her struggles trying to go somewhere outside of the small town.  Tara faces several challenges. 

There were some transitions that felt awkward in the book. Overall, the story was interesting. I believe the book shows the importance of listening to survivors. As well as the dangers of isolation. Although, face to face school isn't always the right choice for every child, school has the opportunity to try and be a safeguard for children. Those that work with children are often the ones that report abuse. Families that isolate provide dangers in a power dynamic that can be seen in this book. Tara believes certain things to be true because that's the only way she knows. As Tara becomes more educated, she realizes the world is a lot bigger than the mountain and I think that's an important take away from the book.
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This memoir was, in my opinion, overblown to the point of being not believable.  I could not relate with a single person in the book, and I frankly did not even like any of them.  While I initially felt bad for Tara, she seemed self-righteous by the end.  I was not as big of a fan as others.
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This book ended up keeping my attention the entire time. I felt as if I grew tired of Tara's struggles around the same time she did in her book, so the flow was really good.

Having read this book long after the buzz and when most people had read it for their book clubs, I had heard both good and bad opinions.

Mine is firmly in the good, but it is not one of the best books I've ever read.
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I really enjoyed this book, but I had to stop and remind myself sometimes that it is real. It’s hard to imagine growing up in this kind of environment!
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A gripping memoir comparable to The Glass Castle. A remarkable story about a girl growing up with survivalist parents in the backwoods of Idaho, not setting foot in school until age 17, yet  manages to get a PhD from Cambridge a decade later.  The layers of abuse and neglect that she suffered would have crushed most people, but Tara is not your average individual. An inspiring yet humble memoir. Every bit as good as the well-deserved hype.
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This is a brutal account of a young woman who is forced to let go of her former self in order to survive. Funnily enough, Tara Westover was born into a family of radical Mormons who had been getting ready to survive “the Apocalypse” and it turns out that her only chance at living her life is getting away from them.

I would have never thought that I would be so immersed in a memoir where religious fundamentalism is at the core of a very strict, violent and almost deadly upbringing. The portrait Westover paints not only of her dysfunctional family but also of her community is distressing to the point of disbelief. How can a rational, healthy person feel the need to belong to a family where physical and psychological abuse is condoned, even encouraged, by her own parents? How can a mother partake in the obsession of her husband to put in continuous danger the lives of her children relying on the will and the grace of God?
Westover’s chronicle of her childhood is full of terrifying statements. The extreme conservationism of her father’s observations about the role of women, the degradation she suffers in the hands of her own brother, her mother’s apparent lack of empathy. 
As I kept reading I thought it couldn’t get any worse, and yet it did. Illness and severe accidents were treated at home with oils and herbs because their father didn’t believe in medicine nor in public education. So Tara Westover managed to self-educate herself in order to be admitted to college, and later to graduate in no other place than Cambridge.

Tara’s courage is admirable. Not only for what she managed to accomplish in spite of her adverse upbringing, but also because she dares to talk about her childhood knowing she’ll be banned for good from her family. There is no rage or vindication in her words, mostly undeserved guilt and sorrow for the loss of innocence. Getting an education should imply growing in awareness of the world that surrounds us, it should arise countless questions that challenge the way we understand ourselves, it should broaden one’s mind. It shouldn’t mean losing a part of yourself or renouncing to one’s past, as it happened to Tara, it should bring collective enrichment and joy to you and those who love you.

As the memoir run its course and was nearing its end, a tremendous sadness engulfed me. I was holding my two months old baby daughter in my arms and I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that a mother could deny her own daughter because she had expanded her worldview. Tara never imposed on her parents, she was always respectful, even reverent of their beliefs despite the trauma they inflicted on her, and it is unbelievable to me that she was so cruelly banished from everything she had loved as a child.
Fundamentalism of any kind is our worst enemy and it’s painful to see how present and persistent it still is in the 21st century. Persons like Tara help us to remember how lucky we are to be born where we were, and to never take anything for granted. And to cherish education, which is and always will be our wings to fly up to higher perspectives. 
And what a vista… Scary, but so so necessary. A book I would recommend to anybody who thinks otherwise.
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