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Cover: 'Educated'

Staff Review: "Educated" by Tara Westover


Tara Westover has an impressive academic pedigree that includes Harvard and Cambridge, but she did not set foot into a classroom until she enrolled at Brigham Young University at the age of seventeen. This compelling memoir immerses the reader into the isolated world in which she was raised in rural Idaho as the youngest of six children. Her father, a Mormon survivalist who is determined to stay off the grid, makes a hardscrabble living through his scrapyard and the occasional (and increasingly infrequent) construction projects. Her mother is an unlicensed midwife who creates her own herbal remedies and essential oils. Despite her misgivings about parents’ plans for her future, Westover cannot imagine life away from their mountain. Educated recounts a number of events that led her to decide to follow her older brother Tyler’s path to college and the rifts her education and changing worldview eventually create. Riveting and occasionally terrifying, there are some events that are difficult to read, but it’s even harder to put the book down. It’s a remarkable book for its candor, hard-won insight, and portrayal of family dynamics. Recommended particularly for fans of Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle and for fans of coming-of-age autobiographies looking for an immersive reading experience.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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