Educated: A Memoir By Tara Westover pdf.
Educated: A Memoir
I finished Tara Westover’s powerful memories, Educated, Completely Stunned, Encouraged, and Heartbroken, all at the same time. This morning, the NY Times bestseller list has included it in n. # 2, and has been on the best seller list for 30 weeks. Obviously, it has struck a chord in the parts of the country that read books. Maybe it’s the writing; perhaps the narrative; perhaps it is because of the controversy it has engendered. I waited to post my feelings about the book until after I had the conversation with my group of readers on Thursday night. I wanted to hear what they had to say: women whose opinions I implicitly trust.
Much has been written about this memory. It is, in short, the story of a young woman’s understanding of her education in a surviving Mormon family in the Idaho Mountains. Her mother is a midwife and herbalist; her father runs a scrap yard and builds barns and sheds in the community. In addition to the church, the seven children in the family had little access or understanding of the outside world because they were home schooled. However, Tara and two of her siblings were so intellectually motivated that they continued their higher education. Tara herself earned a doctorate from Cambridge University.
In part, memory is a horror story of a child’s memories of all the terrible things that happened: car accidents and workplace accidents, all of which were treated with herbal therapy and home remedies, and never with a visit to the doctor. Chief among the memories are those of a mentally unstable older brother who physically abused Tara and the other younger siblings.
However, Tara persisted. He had (and has) a beautiful singing voice, and he had the opportunity to work with the local community theater, something that made his father feel really proud. She taught herself enough math to pass the college entrance exam and graduated from Brigham Young University. After spending time at Cambridge and Harvard, he completed a doctorate in history in 2014.
One of my reading club members noted that Tara kept coming home to her family, over and over, until she realized that the relationship was so toxic to her parents and siblings that she could no longer survive if she continued. . So, in addition to keeping in touch with her two PhD brothers and their families, she remains away from her family.
Here are some conclusions from the book. One is that a person can be so cloistered within a family and community that they believe this is the world. As an example, it wasn’t until Tara went to college that she had some notion of the Holocaust or basic geography. Also, her father’s authoritarianism was so absorbing and narcissistic that she took a basic psychology class to make Tara realize that her father might be suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. When all you read is the Bible or the Book of Mormon, your world view is very limited.
So it is evident that each family member has a selective version of what really happened within their family dynamics. The fact that Tara’s parents couldn’t see her brother’s mental illness and the seriousness with which they defended him and how they couldn’t see how debilitating it was for Tara only made the reader want to scream, “Help him! For Please help her! However, when the book came out, Tara’s other siblings expressed opinions about her childhood that were quite different from hers. Of course this is quite common, certainly my siblings have totally different memories of our childhood than I. The publishers did a lot of fact checking before the book was published.
A great blog post on Sylvan Sanctuary’s blog sums up Educated in great depth, but the author has also found the other brother’s negative comments about the book, and the family’s attorney even got into the act discussing how he remember his life on the mountain. However, nothing can take away from the fascinating storytelling and skillful writing. It is a book that you simply cannot leave.
Earlier this summer, I read and wrote about The Gospel of the Trees, the memories of a girl who grew up in a missionary family in Haiti. The two books are excellent complementary articles on the psychological damage that too much religious fervor can cause in the soul of a young woman.
Educated was the book for the PBS book club for the month of May. Here Tara is singing a favorite hymn on PBS Newshour. Also the review in New York Times.
- Name: Educated: A Memoir
- Writer: Tara Westover
- Categories: English Literature, On Sell
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (Febrary 20, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 978-0399590504
- ASIN: 0399590501
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Customer Reviews: 17,726 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63
Amazon Regular Price: