Educated by Tara Westover is in itself an education. Westover is the youngest of seven children in a family of Mormon survivalists. She grew up in Idaho, supposedly homeschooled, but basically only able to read and write. Her father ran a junkyard in which the children were regularly injured; her mother mixed essential oils which did nothing to heal the injuries; and one of her brothers beat her regularly. This memoir is the story of how a person raised in dogmatic isolation finds the strength to question her reality.
Westover manages to attend college, even though she never spent a day in high school, and the world opens up to her. She and her siblings all took one of two radically different paths: stay home and follow in their parents' footsteps, or get away and get an education. I am so grateful that Ms. Westover chose the latter, and shared her story about embracing uncertainty.
This book reminded me in many ways of The Glass Castle. A young girl being brought up in a very dysfunctional family and her uncanny ability to survive and rise above it all. Tara's story relates how an uneducated Morman girl from Idaho is able to get into college and excel in academia despite every effort on the part of her family to prevent her from leaving and succeeding. Tara holds strong beliefs because of her religious upbringing and has a hard time breaking ties to her family and their dysfunction. Her growth is amazing and keeps you completely invested in this true story.
Kudos to Tara for being able to share such intimate and painful memories and experiences about her family. Double kudos for having the strength to rise above it.
I found this book extraordinary, and captivating. I read the reviews from her two brothers where they tried to explain their parents paranoia and distrust of the government. The father was thought to have schizophrenic and bipolar tendencies and the mother went along with anything he wanted. However, it was she who made their family millionaires with herbal medicines she created.
Tara's rise above her family's negativism was astonishing as she had to put her family behind her. Two brothers reached out but not her parents. Her impressive education earned many awards plus a Ph.D from Cambridge.
I could not put this book down until finished. It is a story that will stay with me for a long time.
Tara Westover is the daughter of a bipolar, Morman who doesn't believe in the government or modern medicine and throws scrapyard metal from his business without determining if his children are in the way--all because God will provide. This is Tara's story of how she taught herself enough to qualify for college and then went on to study at Cambridge and Harvard. It's also the story of how she sought to emotionally extricate herself from this family with the help of her brother. It truly is an insight into foreign cultures, mental illness, and how they influence society and the individual. She is an excellent writer!
I read this with my book club. I found it improbable and prejudicial.
It is also poorly thought out. The only problem that she sees in her family life is the conservatism. There was also personalities and hangups--including serious brain damage. She claims their family issues had nothing to do with Mormonism, but they lived like all of Zion lived until the US overtook Utah.
She claims she overcame the binary thought patterns of her family, but it seems like she just exchanged them for the equally binary thought patterns of her professors.