June Book Review: Educated

Monday, June 24, 2019 - 10:30am
Tami L. Johnson

Educated, a memoir by American author Tara Westover, is a book highly recommended to me.  Educated has been a #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe Bestseller. When I put this book on hold at the local library, it took a couple months to be able to get it; so many people wanted to read it, too!

Finally, when I opened its pages, I discovered a deeply moving and difficult life story about the author herself.  Educated is an autobiography exploring the life and education of Tara Westover. Born in 1986 into an Idaho family of little means and resources, and a father who is opposed to public education, Tara never attended public school.

Westover grew up a Mormon survivalist. She learned how to work hard in her father’s junkyard and mixed herbs for her mother’s oil business as a midwife.  Westover’s family included  four brothers, one sister and her parents. One of her brothers taught Tara how to read. Eventually, some of her siblings broke away and moved out on their own to pursue a better life.  Tara wanted that too but didn’t know how?  She discovered she could learn on her own and did.

Westover found a way to study for the ACT and subsequently, made her way into the public-school system and, most importantly, into college.  There were so many roadblocks in her way, but Westover chose to persevere and rise above the abuse and challenges she was involved in.  Her parents never believed in traditional medicine and therefore, never took their kids to see a doctor—even when the painful results stemmed from deep gashes in the scrap yard or car accidents.

Tara decided to choose a different life full of education and knowledge.  Her journey goes from stepping into a classroom, for the first time at age seventeen, to rising through the ranks of academia at locations such as Brigham Young University, Harvard and Cambridge.  In 2014, she was awarded a PhD in history from Cambridge University.  Educated is Tara Westover’s first book.  You will definitely want to read this memoir. It is moving,  compelling, and educational. It will give you new meaning and perspective on your own education.  You will learn to value knowledge more after reading this great book