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Updated: Jul 14, 2019

A gripping, heartbreaking memoir of a woman who, against all odds, overcomes immense family obstacles to gain an education, opening her eyes to a world she never knew existed.


SUMMARY TARA WESTOVER never went to school, never saw a doctor and did not have a birth certificate. Her parents were Idaho survivalists, and wanted nothing to do with the government, schools or hospitals. She and her six brothers and one sister lived off the land. Her mother was a midwife and healer and treated every family malady—cuts, burns, broken bones, and head trauma— with herbs and oils. At age 10, Tara is put to work savaging scrap metal from her father’s junkyard, a dangerous job with no consideration to safety. When one of Tara’s older brother becomes physical and mentally abusive to her, her parents turn a blind eye. At fifteen, Tara begins educating herself. She learned enough math and grammar to pass the ACT and be admitted to Brigham Young University at the age of 17. There she studied history and learned of events such as the civil right movement and the Holocaust for the first time. From Brigham Young her quest continued at Cambridge and Harvard, ultimately earning a PhD at the age of 27. Throughout her education Tara Westover experiences tremendous conflict between the awareness she gained from her education and her loyalty to her family.

REVIEW My experience in reading EDUCATED was not without its own conflicts. This hard to forget story is both maddening and heartbreaking. It is both gripping and difficult to read. I wanted to reach out and shake Tara out of her silence of the torment and abuse she suffered. I wanted to put my arm around her and give her the confidence to yell and scream at those holding her down. I wanted to tell her to get out, and not to go back home again. She touched me with this book, and I hope it will be the salve she needs to heal. Perhaps she has finally found her voice. It’s truly amazing what Tara has been able to accomplish. My hat is off to her. I hope that someday she realizes the fault is not and was never with her.

A father is suppose to protect and keep his children out of harms way, Tara’s did not. A mother is supposed to love and educate her children, Tara’s did not. A big brother is suppose to look out for his little sister. Tara’s did not. But now she’s educated and hopefully will break the cycle of abuse, denial and most of all, silence.

Thanks to Netgalley, Random House and Tara Westover for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Book Published February 20, 2018.

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