Educated by Tara Westover is a fascinating memoir. From the cover blurb – This is a tale of self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes of severing one’s closest ties.
Tara Westover grew up in a survivalist family tucked away on a mountain in Idaho. She stewed herbs for her midwife mother. She salvaged metal for her father’s junkyard. Spunky and smart, she was the youngest and was highly influenced by older brother Tyler. He managed to get into college and came back with news of a whole other world. He encouraged Tara and she managed to pass tests to enter a college classroom at seventeen. There, for the first time, she learned about the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Can you imagine? First exposure at age seventeen.
From there, the sky was the limit and she was fortunate in gaining mentors who helped her catch up in leaps and bounds. She chose to get vaccinated. She earned the privilege of travel to Cambridge. She worked hard and gained admission to Harvard. Meanwhile, any trips back home brought turmoil – clashes with her very powerful father, whom she respected but now questioned. So many “Whys?” and his denial and need to denigrate what she’d learned.
Educated covers religion, history, medicine, government – all issues of distrust on the mountain. Educated is about a young woman willing to open her heart and mind to knowledge, to question, to wonder, and to interpret the world around her. Tara Westover shares so many feelings of love and loss and fear. Her writing is insightful – full of doubts for herself and her path. But she was/is strong and you root for her, and yet understand her concerns. It is quite a tale of a life the majority of us can’t fathom.
Tara Westover straddles a mountain between worlds and comes out Educated.