The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

A Very Belated Review of 'Educated' by Tara Westover

Madeleine Ouellette

Posted on June 29, 2020 01:32

2 users

Although this memoir was on the New York Times Bestseller list back in 2018, I didn’t get around to reading 'Educated' until now, but it was worth the wait.

Educated is Tara Westover’s debut book and memoir. Westover describes in gritty detail her life growing up in a survivalist Mormon family. She grew up in the mountains of Idaho with her father, mother, and six siblings and documented much of her life growing up in journals and notes.

Much of the book is centered on her father’s intense paranoia and extreme doomsday preparation. Her father and mother did not believe in any government intervention in their lives, and this included school and medical attention. They never visited hospitals or even doctors, even though every family member sustained at least one serious injury over the course of the book. Westover’s mother practiced as an unlicensed midwife and treated injuries and sickness with herbal tinctures and oils.

As the title implies, the book is also about her education. Westover did not attend school, and she received very little homeschooling from her family. Despite this lack of education, she decides at 16 that she wants to go to college. This decision is important, as it starts the series of events that bring her both the knowledge she never even knew she was missing, and the separation from her family that she craved. She completes college and goes on to study at King’s College in England with the support of a few professors and friends who see her intelligence and perseverance, even if she cannot.

Throughout the book, there are terrifying injuries, abuse, manipulation and betrayal, but there is also hope and growth. Tara Westover’s life is unlike anything that I could imagine. It was fascinating to see Tara’s life through her eyes and feel as though you’re watching her slowly realize how different the world is from the tiny world that she grew up in. You’re with her in a college class at age 17 when she hears what the Holocaust was for the first time in her life. You’re there when she realizes that wearing a tank top does not mean that you are a whore.

She struggles with the fact that getting an education and going off into the world means that her family can no longer accept her. They make many attempts to bring her back into the fold; the final attempt being her father and mother staying in her dorm room with her for a week at Harvard and trying to have her admit that she was wrong for leaving the family home and atoning for this sin. She debates the ease with which it would be to just tell her parents that they are right and go back to Idaho with them, versus risking her old life to continue pursuing her passions. 

Educated is intense, uncomfortable, and inspiring. Westover eventually gets her Ph.D. and has the final realization that if her parents cannot accept that she no longer believes what they believe; that she needs to separate herself from them and the control they had over her for so long. 

Madeleine Ouellette

Posted on June 29, 2020 01:32

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: The Guardian

Books in contention range from a transgender man’s boxing story to a memoir of recovering from psychosis and a novel about...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest