Book review: Educated by Tara Westover

Time for a book review on gutfeel. Read on…

Educated is a memoir by Tara Westover which has quickly climbed the success ladder due to its neat prose and simple writing. It is actually the story of Tara from her childhood days to the present. There is a flow in the book as when you will pick it up you would want to go back to complete it as soon as possible. The setting is of Buck’s peak, south western Idaho in America where Tara’s family lived. They were actually Mormon survivalists who did not believe in sending their kids to school. Tara’s father suffered from bipolar disorder and the family had to witness his ideological mania over and over again. Her mother was a midwife and herbalist whose business prospered later in the day and she gained much reputation with her herbs and tinctures.

Tara was the youngest of the seven children who had to study on their own as there was no emphasis on the studies. Rather, children were made to work in Gene’s junkyard scrapping metal and cleaning other stuff. Whenever anyone got hurt they were not allowed any medical care as the father thought that it was against the wishes of the lord. So when Tara has tonsillitis, she is made to stand in the sun with her mouth open so that it gets healed itself. When Gene gets burned, even then they do not take him to the hospital though the burns were severe. They make do with the balms that Faye prepares for Gene.

When Tara joins a singing group, the clothes they wear are termed whorish by the father. The negative influence of younger brother Schwan on Tara is evident throughout the book. He would get mad with her if she did not do as expected.

Tara is interested in studies and tries to clear the ACT so that she can join college. She just didn’t want to do the junkyard work anymore. While at BYU, she gets exposed to the outside world for the first time and her professor sees the spark in her and sends her on a scholarship to Cambridge. From Cambridge, she further goes on to Harvard for her doctorate. She does have a few boyfriends, but she is unable to confide in them about her family.

Educated just shows how someone who was not even homeschooled properly can go on to achieve the degrees that most people would die for. To be frank, real education is not really about the degrees but is a freedom of choice and facing reality with all your guts. It means living with passion and doing what you love most so that you achieve the real purpose in your life.

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