By Tara Westover,

Book cover of Educated: A Memoir

Book description



'One of the best books I have ever read . . . unbelievably moving' Elizabeth Day
'An extraordinary…

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Why read it?

22 authors picked Educated as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I identified with Tara Westover while reading her memoir because of her secluded and restrictive upbringing. Like her, my upbringing made me feel left out, “other,” different from normal kids, not allowed the usual activities that other kids could do and kept from learning and growing in my own way.

I didn’t understand how these rules affected me until I saw my angst in her own words of isolation, yearning, and rebellion. It gave me hope that our desire for self-fulfillment and actualization is universal and stronger than the people who try, for good reasons or bad, to keep us…

Growing up in a religious household and then coming out as a gay man, it took me several years to extricate myself from those threads of guilt that inhibited my full-blown happiness with my new identity.

Tara not only had to extricate herself from her family’s religious fervour but also from her brother’s violence, her father’s radicalism, her community’s denial. Brought up in a strict Mormon household in the mountains of Idaho, Tara didn’t have a birth certificate until she was 9. She didn’t begin her education until she was 17. She broke the chains of her family’s mindset and…

When I read it, the sense I got of the author’s feelings of being a misfit, an outcast, were palpable, and I could identify with her, regardless of the different circumstances in which we were raised. Her book is about not feeling like you fit, about feeling like you were born into the wrong family.

I was amazed when I read Westover’s book, Educated; amazed that someone could go through such a deprived and abusive childhood and, not only survive but rise above and discover herself.

I was in awe over her self-determination. Though my childhood did not, in any way, resemble hers, reading her story gave me the courage to stand up to my own fears and feel confident in who I am. She reminded me that it is possible to overcome challenging obstacles and get through the seemingly impossible.

From Debbie's list on getting through life’s challenges.

What is the importance of an education in freeing your mind from the shackles of oppression? In this poignant memoir, the author describes her close ties to family and how those ties repressed her freedom to observe and interpret the world around her.

Born in a male-dominated hierarchy and controlled by strong religious beliefs, it was dictated to her what to do and believe. When she tried to think for herself, her relationships with family members became toxic. A weaker mind would have succumbed to the pressure and accepted the situation. However, an incredible urge to learn and grow moved…

When I read Tara’s story of growing up isolated in Idaho, USA, I couldn’t believe how similar her childhood was to mine, though she experienced it on land, and I was at sea.

Like me, Tara was unable to go to school. In her case she was trapped at home with a father who was convinced that the world was about to end. She accepted this world when she was young but, as she became older, she repeatedly tried to make her life more normal and became convinced that education was the way in which she could escape.

The book…

I read this book during a time of my life when I needed a page-turner to distract me, and it was a remarkable companion during those days; I read it in bed well into the night and was grateful to have it again in the morning.

This book tells the story of the author’s coming of age in Idaho with survivalist parents and her encounter with mind-expanding education on a journey that ultimately takes her to Oxford.

Westover is a truly masterful writer who paints vivid images through storytelling. I think I could recount almost every chapter in detail many…

From Satya's list on quarterlife beyond the crisis.

Often people are born into cults or find that their family and those inherited beliefs hold a cult-like sway over their childhood and coming of age.

Tara Westover’s account of growing up in a family prepping for the End of Days is wonderfully clear-sighted and unflinching. Not only that but, despite the violence and sense of betrayal, it also manages to hold the kind of redemptive arc that has you cheering the writer through the last few chapters.

From Liam's list on communes and cults.

Educated is a memoir about a young girl who grows up with an extreme prepper family who does not trust government institutions, so they do not send their children to schools, use medical institutions, or participate in society in general. Tara’s older brother and father are both abusive, and eventually, Tara decides to leave her family to pursue a college education. 

I am a college professor as well as a writer, so I really enjoyed this book. It’s a book about pursuing your dreams. It’s a book about not giving up. It’s a book about leaving your family or a…

Whatever family you’re raised in seems normal, until you’re exposed to an alternative.

Tara Westover was raised entirely off the grid, never attending school, and helping her Mormon parents deal with dad’s junkyard and mom’s boiled herbs. One brother turns violent; another figures out a way to go to college. Tara decides to pursue an education and, as a result, she’s able to build a meaningful life.

What is painful is watching her try to go home and make peace with her, dare I say, eccentric parents? This book is a classic.

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