Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover


Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover


Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover


Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Published February 20th 2018

Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover


Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover



This book evoked the most powerful feelings in me. Unfortunately not all of them were positive.

I wrote a review right after finishing this audiobook and all of my feelings came bursting out like a torrent. Reading it the next day I knew I couldn’t let it stand like this. It was a mess of thoughts, emotional outbursts and aggravation.

It was not easy for me to listen to this audiobook.

EDUCATED depicts an American lifestyle that I can’t fathom still exists in this century. A life that was so vividly different, extreme and in parts unbelievable that it was hard for me to imagine. Because of this the story was highly compelling. Even enthralling. But also a source of frustration and anger.

The author grew up as the seventh child of a Mormon survivalist family, on a remote mountain in Idaho. Her father’s mental illness, and her mother’s support for such a man and his nonsensical ideas and demands, plus the isolation that the mountain offered, made this book a very complex and emotional read.

I became exasperated with the author’s inability to distance herself from such a volatile and unhealthy relationship with her family. Especially after she left for college and university. The hold that her family had on her was unfathomable to me. But I didn’t live the way she lived. I didn’t experience the isolation and her father’s doctrines. Her life was unique, unorthodox, and incredibly different. And all because of one man.

One of the things that I’ll take away from this book is the proof of how much a person can achieve by just putting their mind to it. The author’s accomplishments are incredible. And because of that her story is one I will never forget.

But I do feel like I need counseling after listening to this book – lol.


Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover


Tara Westover was 17 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.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. 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.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed 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.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

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Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for the next decade. She received a BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Tara Westover earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.

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Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover

About corina

I’m a blogger, photographer, and unapologetic book addict. I love strong female characters, major jerks, and Happily Ever Afters.

3 thoughts on “Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

  1. I just finished reading this book. I loved it. It was hard to read sometimes; it hurt. I can’t begin to imagine going through some of the things she endured. I’m so glad she was blessed with intelligence. I know she had to make some extremely hard decisions, but I’m so glad she had the courage and ability to do all she done.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Reading it hurt, and it made me so angry at times. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to go through the same and come out the way she did. She was lucky to be this smart. Who can go to university without any proper schooling???? Same for two of her other siblings. And taking that step was incredibly brave. I’m glad I read it. It certainly makes me appreciate my upbringing and family more.

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