Selected as a book of the year in THE TIMES, SUNDAY TIMES, GUARDIAN, NEW YORK TIMES, THE ECONOMIST, NEW STATESMAN, VOGUE, IRISH TIMES, IRISH EXAMINER and RED MAGAZINE
AMAZON.COM’s BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Shortlisted for the 2018 BAMB Readers’ Awards
Recommended as a summer read by Barack Obama, Antony Beevor, India Knight, Blake Morrison and Nina Stibbe
As a lover of books, I am part of many Facebook groups. One of these groups is the Library Lovers Bookclub, a page set up by Cork County Library with the wonderful Máire Walsh as administrator, keeping folk up-to-date on what’s happening in our bookish world.
Recently Máire posted her thoughts on a book that captured her attention and I asked if it would be ok to share her thoughts with you all. The book is Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir that has received numerous accolades across society for it’s honesty and it’s inspirational impact.
Have you read Educated? Is it a book that you would consider reading?
[ About the Book ]
Tara Westover was 17 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 forbade hospitals, 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 one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important 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. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it
[ Guest Review by Máire Walsh ]
An amazing insight into the life of a child growing up in a radical Mormon survivalist family.
Sheltered and unaware of the world that has experienced slavery, the Holocaust or the feminist movement, Westover’s childhood was tough and hard graft was expected with accidents and injuries common and treated at home by their mother, a herbalist.
It’s fantastically written so try and get your hands on it!
While reading Educated, I happened to watch this show on Netflix called Abducted in Plain Sight. It’s about a girl who was kidnapped twice by the same man – a friend of the family! It’s bizarre and maybe not the easiest to watch so approach with caution. The family was so slow to move on helping their daughter due to blackmail and brainwashing and saving face as they were all members of the same Mormon church.
Truth can be stranger than fiction.
[ Bio ]
Tara Westover was born in rural Idaho to a father opposed to public education. She never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife.
She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for the next decade. She received a BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.