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Educated: A Memoir

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER - One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

"Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention."--The New York Times

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW - ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR - BILL GATES'S HOLIDAY READING LIST - FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle's Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book - PEN/Jean Stein Book Award - Los Angeles Times Book Prize

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 [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

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, Good Morning America, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, The Economist, Financial Times, Newsday, New York Post, theSkimm, Refinery29, Bloomberg, Self, Real Simple, Town & Country, Bustle, Paste, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, LibraryReads, Book Riot, Pamela Paul, KQED, New York Public Library
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368 pages

Average rating: 7.98




Community Reviews

Jul 17, 2024
9/10 stars
If you can get past the Domestic Violence this is a very good book.
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Jul 08, 2024
9/10 stars
I was rapt by this story from the beginning. I love a good memoir, and this one is my new favorite!
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Jul 05, 2024
10/10 stars
Amazing story. It's hard to believe she, or any of her siblings, survived this childhood.
Westover was raised in rural Idaho, by a tyrannical, fundamentalist (is that the word for it?) Mormon, survivalist father, who didn't trust schools, hospitals, or the government, endangering their lives seemingly at every turn.
They weren't exactly homeschooled either. They spent their days helping their father in the scrapyard he owned, or helping their mother with her essential oils and tinctures that stood in for real medicine. It was an older brother who opened her eyes to music and the idea of learning things outside the Book of Mormon.
As a teenager, she found her voice. Literally. She'd taken singing lessons and discovered she could make beautiful sounds. She sang at her church and everyone praised her. She soon started auditioning for local musicals in a neighboring town. This was another push towards freedom and escape from her abusive, mentally ill father. But there was also a brother who had a similar mental illness with a lot more violence attached. I thought for sure he would end up killing someone by the end of the book. I was right, but not what you're thinking... :-(

She decided she wanted to go to school and studied and studied until she was able to pass the ACT and get herself enrolled at BYU at the age of 17. (At one point, when she was 16, her parents tried to kick her out of the house and said she really should be on her own by now. They thought she was 20. They couldn't even remember how old their own daughter was!)
Once entering BYU, she soared higher and higher and farther and farther away from the abuse and mental illness of the family who raised her.
And I'm the last person to read this book so why am I even writing all this??! ;-D

But one more thing: This book is not critical of Mormonism, as she clearly states at the end. I thought about that throughout the book, that this was not bashing her religion, or any religion, but just her story about her crazy family!
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Jun 28, 2024
8/10 stars
I truly enjoyed this book but have to be honest that multiple times throughout I was so frustrated with this family! The abuse that goes on with this poor girl and her siblings is unimaginable. So proud of her for being able to rise above and forgive them for her peace.
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May 26, 2024
9/10 stars
Unbelievable story, mental abuse because of religion and possessiveness, physical abuse because of a brother with severe mental health issues, abandonment from other family members, to a woman who finally grows strength and learns to fend for herself, who through sheer determination becomes educated and grows
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