Educated – Tara Westover


Chosen by Sonya

A 16-year-old fundamentalist Mormon defies her family by getting herself educated.

✚ “Educated is the memoir of a girl who flees her fundamentalist Mormon family in lieu of an education.

“Tara Westover’s Idaho parents were suspicious of everyone and hid their family away from reality, prepping for the end of days and following their father’s doctrines. The children were not schooled, did not see doctors and four of them were not issued with birth certificates.

“Not only are Tara’s family religious fanatics, they are also cruel, and Tara, as the youngest, is subjected to all sorts of crazy ideas, and abuse, both physical and psychological. The story is truely astounding and almost unbelievable.

“To be honest when we discussed the book there was a consensus of slight disbelief. Not only did so many terrible things happen (repetition of preventable accidents) but the thematic construction of the book is perfect, like it couldn’t have been planned better if it was fiction. (A son’s minor burn foreshadows the father explosive burn injury years later; the father stock piles gold and later in the book a university professor compares Tara to gold …)

‘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. It was always in you. Not in Cambridge. In you. You are gold. And returning to BYU, or even to that mountain you came from, will not change who you are. It may change how others see you, it may even change how you see yourself—even gold appears dull in some lighting—but that is the illusion. And it always was.’

Research shows the parents are still alive and did say through attorneys that the book should be taken with a grain of salt. Some of her brothers have also taken to their keyboards to offer their takes of the book, including Tyler who wrote the following review on Good Reads.

“But whatever the case, memoir, fiction, fictionalised truth, the book is one of those unputdownable memoirs that gives you an insight into the lives of the other side (the really other side). And it proves the point that whatever your adversity getting yourself educated is the first step to a better future.

“At university Tara studied the social implications of fundamentalist religion as a result of her upbringing and I’m sure this book will give those who have always wondered far more insight into what some people endure and how services can and should assist them.

“It’s a book you want want to devour in one sitting, and as such is recommended by us all.”

Published 2018
Random House
334 pages

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