Released in 2018, Tara Westover details her educational journey in academics, as well as mentally in her memoir Educated.
I chose this book for the “A Memoir or Biography” category in my reading challenge. The book also made an appearance on my 2019 reading challenge list; however, I was never able to begin reading it.
Westover does an amazing job in weaving the details of her past as a child with her life as an adult. The reader is brought into her life and learns more about what she had to go through growing up in a strict Mormon family.
Throughout the memoir, there is a heavy focus on her family, religion, and education.
As mentioned earlier, her family is Mormon; however, as Westover addresses in the book, her family was seen as too extreme for many of the families living in town. This is demonstrated when Westover begins dance classes, and her family, particularly her father, deems all of the outfits immodest. This leads to all of the other girls having to change outfits.
One of the standout features of her family is the amount of faith they have in their religion. Westover describes many incidents where multiple family members received many injuries that would have sent others to the hospital, but they never go because of the patriarch’s emphasis on ignoring medical aid funded by the government.
This lack of trust in the government also leads to most of the children in the family not receiving a traditional education. Despite this, Westover recounts that some of her older brothers went on and received more formal education through college.
This is a similar path that she takes. She was able to get into college and get her bachelor’s, master’s and eventually, a doctorate.
On this path, Westover had to overcome different struggles, both academically and with her family.
One of the most memorable academic struggles she described in the book involves an image of the Holocaust in an art class. She did not know what the Holocaust was, and when she asked, everyone who responded told her not to make a horrible joke like that again.
While at times, Westover’s accounts of her life sounds heartbreaking, such as incidents of physical and mental abuse, overall, it provides an insight on the resilience of human nature.
Overall, I gave this a 5/5 stars.