A Memoir

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Tara Westover was seventeen 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. 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. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform 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. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399590504
Branch Call Number: 362.8209 WESTOVE
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 22, 2018

Although it's a compelling story, I found it somewhat poorly written and badly structured. Has echoes of Krakauer's work and "Wild."

Sep 19, 2018

Amazing book. Extremely interesting memoir about a young woman's journey from being raised in an isolated and sheltered life to gaining a college education and learning more about the world. So good!

Sep 19, 2018

Another fact is stranger than fiction kind of book. Tara Westover is amazing to have clawed her way out of such a childhood. It left me with an overall sense of sadness.

JCLIngridP Aug 30, 2018

A page turner all the way through, couldn't stop reading until the end. What blew me away is that the events take place in the '80 and '90 in the USA. Tara dares to take the ACT test against all odds, she is a great survivalist.

Aug 22, 2018

Tara Westover's "educated" is by far the best book I have read in a long time. I couldn't believe that this was a memoir and not fiction.Tara Westover grew up in rural Idaho in a family of fundamental Mormons, with no Birth Certificate, no Schooling, and no medical attention to speak of. She helps her father in his junk yard but yearns for learning.
She tries to pass the ACT test and her first introduction to education is when she learns that the "skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read the things I could not understand." Her instincts are her guardians in the rough life she leads.Journalizing keeps Tara sane and in her journal she writes the line, "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery." She seems to pick up the essence of everything she reads and learns for example when she writes in all her notebooks and blank spaces the words, "None but ourselves can free our minds." It is only when she hears the fact that "Of the nature of women, nothing final can be known," that she feels free.
By dint of hard work, Tara rises to heights no person brought up like she did, can aspire, by getting a PhD. While she gets an education, Tara battles all kinds of emotions from her excommunication from her family mainly guilt. She finally learns that guilt is never about "them"."Guilt is the fear of of one's own wretchedness." If there is only one book you read this year please let this be the one.

slborb Aug 17, 2018

I enjoyed this as an audio book. I found myself captivated by the story and the narrator, even digging my nails into my palms at some of the more horrific parts. Tara Westover richly describes the place where she grew up and the people in her family. You truly get a small window into this very different way of life and mentality. You understand how complicated it is for Tara to break away from these people and these things. Each member of her family could probably tell an equally compelling story of their experiences as well. Well worth the read (or the listen).

Aug 16, 2018

Tara Westover writes dispassionately about her family
And an adherence to the murky stew that is religious zealotry, misogyny
And gross survivalist suspicion.
There is the familiar cast of fanatical father, deranged brother,and a mother who fails to
Protect her from the former.
Westover’s ambivalence is understandable ; her ‘exit’ while not final, is a stunning
Testimonial to higher education , a series of mentors and sheer grit.
Sadly those young women who most need to hear this story-will never have the access,
Or means or strength to follow her.

Aug 05, 2018

This was a riveting book I could barely put down and definitely resulted in some sleep loss. Tara survived her childhood and family and achieved the impossible dream. The amount of strength, introspection, determination, love, belief in herself, the support others enabled her over time to achieve self-actualization. This book expertly details her struggles and achievements.

Aug 05, 2018

This book is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read. Raised in a survivalist Mormon family with a bi-polar father, Tara overcame so many terrifying obstacles to graduate with a PhD from Cambridge University. Least among her challenges was her parents decision not to provide her with even a rudimentary homeschooling. Troubling to read, but too compelling not to finish and cheer for Tara’s determination as she slowly realizes the real world is quite different than that of her parents.

Aug 03, 2018

Listening to the author on numerous podcasts made me hungry to want to read this book. After about fifty pages, my should-I-stay-or-should-I-go line, I decided to cut bait. It's not that it isn't beautifully written nor fascinating, it's that I can't continue reading about children being raised in this manner. Perhaps it's due to my background, perhaps it's that the author has done almost too good of a job of describing her side of life in a cult, perhaps it's that I don't want characters like her parents in my mind, ever, but I had to put it aside. Too bad as I love a good pull-yourself-up-from-your-bootstraps story, particularly with a female narrator. It was just too painful. I wanted to cry.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCCLD

To Top