Rating: 5/5 stars. Recommended!
Published: February 20th 2018 by Random House
Genre(s): Non-fiction; Memoir; Autobiography
Pages: 352 (Kindle)
“Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected.
She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.
As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled 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 the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has, from her singular experience, crafted a universal coming-of-age story, one 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.”
If you had to only read one book in 2018, this is it.
Sometime during the course of our reading adventures, we stumble upon a book that is eye-opening and makes us feel small and more aware of countless of lives around us. Educated: A Memoir is one of it. My eyes instantly locked on this book at first because of its cover, title, and is recommended by librarians on NetGalley. I was then further convinced by Stephanie’s review at Adventures of a Bibliophile. Reviews littering the blogosphere warn me that it’s a heavy read, not an easy one – it seriously is.
It’s hard to put my feelings into words that are adequate. Even that statement is an understatement. If this story is told over dinner or drinks with close friends, I can imagine the reactions, rounded eyes, shock, then the protests. As a reader, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to respond in such a way because this book is a revelation about someone’s life – I’m not one to judge. All I can say over and over again when reading the childhood phase of this memoir is “That shouldn’t have happened…no..these kids shouldn’t have gone through that…” but then I bite my lip because it’s not my place. Numerous sections of this book make it hard to read because of the level of abuse and it made me think more than once “This seems exaggerated” but then again I hold myself in check. This book isn’t about validating the facts. I wasn’t there by her side while she had to go through everything so I am far from one that wants to pass judgement, all I can do is sit tight and read what the author wants to say.
Educated: A Memoir details the struggle of walking away from what the author has known, loved, and been taught all her life to something that had been kept out of her reach, unknown, and yet undeniably good for her. It’s a test of her loyalty against her right. It’s even a fight to realise that education is her right. It’s a journey of growing up, finding yourself, and understanding the repercussions of being a family headed by a parent who has BPD and at the same time cut-off from the world. She was raised to be unquestioning of her father’s words, and there are times when Dad seem to twist and stretch his religion to fit his goals and own views. And it is education that has finally freed her.
Halfway through the book it struck me how far Tara’s come, and it dawned on me how far she has to go still… it made my throat thick thinking about it.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via NetGalley.
This book ticks off item(s) from my reading challenges this year!