A Memoir

Book Club Kit - 2019 | Book club edition
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Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The 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 an older brother became violent. When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. 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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: Book club edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780399590504
Branch Call Number: 270.092 W5288E 2018
Characteristics: 15 books (xiii, 334 pages ; 25 cm) + 1 binder, in bin (27 x 28 cm.)


From Library Staff

Raised in the Idaho mountains by survivalist parents who eschewed schooling and doctors, Westover hungered so powerfully for education that she taught herself eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge.

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Mar 18, 2019

Educated: The best auto biography I have ever read. This motivating story is sure to open the minds of readers of any age. I like how it motivates us to get education and to fight for our rights.

Mar 11, 2019

This is the story of the author's triumphant and difficult path to survival and rebirth through education. Tara was born into a family dominated by an abusive, violent and paranoid father, a mother who was subservient to her husband and a violent and paranoid out of control brother. A father that demanded loyalty at all cost. Combine that with a rural survivalist upbringing, a father who didn't believe in public schools, birth certificates, doctors or hospitals. Add a Mormon faith featuring patriarchal philosophy, and a belief in the need to prepare for the coming of the Day of Abomination or end of the world. Tara accomplished the seemingly impossible!

Mar 07, 2019

Holy cow. Now I see why this was a pick of so many book clubs. Love her writing style. Easy read. Very moving content. I was so sad the book had to end.

Mar 07, 2019

Tammy recommended this. And there are 900 holds on 200 copies... It's about an abusive brother in a family who was protected by the parents, written by a sister...

PerthEastLibrary Feb 28, 2019

The "PEPL Book Club" rated Educated 4 stars. We thought this was a great book for book clubs because it provided a lot of good discussion. It was an intriguing read, and made us wonder how all of the family members stayed alive throughout the book!

Feb 27, 2019

Her clean and crisp writing style make this memoir believable.

Feb 23, 2019

Along with other such memoirs about escaping deleterious family situations---Hillbilly Elegy and Educated are two popular ones right now---I'm fascinated and repulsed by the lunatic father. His paranoid and grandiose delusions defy social norms and common sense, yet nobody opposes him. Tara finds a different path through education and manages to escape from his influence. Notable philanthropist Bill Gates says the interest lay in “people who remove themselves from society because they have these beliefs and knowledge that they think make them more enlightened. Their belief systems benefit from their separateness, and you’re forced to be either in or out.” A reviewer on Good Reads named Shelby thought “it repeated itself so much that I didn't think the story was ever going to move on. Some parts were just mind bogglingly boring and I almost threw it aside.” Both have a point: the study in religious obsession is fascinating and the book really should’ve been made shorter and tighter by an editor. I enjoyed the gritty realism of the junkyard, the early boyfriend, etc. Many times, her statement of some newly perceived fact did not satisfy. The book is really about her struggle to gain perspective, to determine what is real and what is utter fantasy. That’s a difficult thing to convey, and this effort is worthwhile even if it’s a bit tedious at times.

Feb 20, 2019

This book made me sad, sometimes even angry, but also happy knowing that at the end Tara had triumphed, and authored this moving memoir.
Tara not only made it out of this hell of parental neglect and abuse, but she also made it BIG in life. She soothed her own pain, wiped her own tears, and was for the most part her own self- teacher, and motivator.
The sad reality is that, the book draws many parallels between Tara's childhood, and her family and those of other people, which is why the book has echoed in many readers. I personally identified with her experience a lot. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors so don't be fooled by the appearances.
The book is unlike any memoir- or even any book of any genre, that I've read before. It's one of the best that I've read, both in the writing style and the content.

ArapahoeKati Feb 19, 2019

Just wow. This is the kind of book that you want to throw across the room because you can't believe it's true, but you're going to stay up and finish it no matter how late it gets because you have to know what happens. And then you're going to talk about it with everyone you know and think about it for days.

IndyPL_MoiraD Feb 18, 2019

This was my book club's pick this month, and I admit I wasn't looking forward to reading another heavy memoir. Once I started the book, however, I just couldn't put it down. I had to keep reading to find out how the author was able to break free from the often abusive, isolated environment of her childhood (raised by survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho) and move on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. I found it heartbreaking, fascinating, and inspiring.

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Feb 18, 2019

"Dad and his mother got along like two cats with their tails tied together. They could talk for a week and not agree about anything, but they were tethered by their devotion to the mountain."

Jan 08, 2019

“You are not fool’s gold, shining only under a particular light. Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were.”

Jan 08, 2019

“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.”

Jan 08, 2019

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds” — Bob Marley
p. 257

Dec 17, 2018

I was able to tell myself that it didn't affect me, that he didn't affect me, because nothing affected me....I had misunderstood the vital truth: that it's not affecting me, that was its effect.

ArapahoeMaryA Oct 23, 2018

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.

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”


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