Rating: 5 / 5
EDUCATED by Tara Westover has been on my TBR for ages after seeing so many raving reviews, but I just hadn’t picked up a copy. I was therefore thrilled to see it appear in one of my Books & Baths boxes! Nonfiction November seemed a perfect time to finally pick this one up so I was happy to be able to squeeze it in at the end of the month.
EDUCATED is Tara Westover’s memoir centering around her exposure to education. Tara had never been to school until she was seventeen, the age most American teens are planning for high school graduation. Her family was more concerned with preparing for the end of the world and living a natural, self contained life than providing for their children’s education. Tara’s father was firmly against the use of medical intervention so they grew up using homeopathic remedies for even the worst injuries and ailments. Tara was largely left to herself to find ways to improve her life and steer clear of her abusive older brother.
Tara did an amazing job of rising up from the lack she grew up in. She finally made her way to school and began to impress her teachers such that they worked with her to earn impressive opportunities. Though she finds herself at a disadvantage with her complete lack of knowledge on subjects such as the holocaust, she spends her time researching to fill in her education gap. Her education takes her overseas to study abroad and brings her back home to face the life she left behind.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book going in, but I anticipated it might be a hard to read book. It definitely was that in parts between the abuse Tara dealt with on both physical and emotional levels and some of the more graphic descriptions of the injuries faced by the family and dealt with at home without medical intervention. It was also very uplifting to read about someone who really took control over their life and saw the power in education.
For me, graduating high school and going on to college was just always assumed. For Tara’s classmates and teachers it was just assumed that her question asking what was the holocaust was an inappropriate joke. With the systems we have in place like family and child services, it is hard to imagine a child so completely falling through the cracks. In Tara’s case no one knew she existed since she was born at home and was never issued a birth certificate, so there was no one to speak up for her. Her own family is so heavily indoctrinated in their father’s beliefs that they don’t see what is right in front of them.
This really was an eye opening book and I’m so glad to have finally read it! I’m left very impressed by Tara Westover!