Am I the last of the book people to read this book? Likely. Did I love it? Absolutely. Did it also make me very anxious and at times angry? You bet. Educated is the runaway best-selling and well-received memoir by Tara Westover, an autodidact raised in a fundamentalist Mormon family (think Y2K truthers and essential oil salesmen) who ends up finding solace in her education. It’s amazing, so well-told and absolutely gripping, but I was also blown away that people like her father, known in the book as Gene, exist and allow things like that to happen to their children.
If you’re sensitive to violence against children or animals or descriptions of wounds, probably skip huge chapters of the book. But that being said, it’s an absolutely fascinating book. Tara is a miracle story, honestly. Her family didn’t want to support the “government” or the “Illuminati” (I kid you not) so they never sent her to school and according to her, didn’t teach her much at home. She learned a bit from her older siblings and self-taught some, but when she went to college, she hadn’t heard of the Holocaust. So that’s the kind of “education” we’re talking about at home. Her father was, by her diagnosis, bipolar and by mine, a little off his rocker. He didn’t believe in doctors or “drugs” (Tylenol..) and was canning fruit to stay in a bunker after the “end times.” Plus, the scrapyard business he ran was known to cause more than a few injuries to his family members. Tara, though, survived. She got out, she got into BYU despite not having gone to school, and eventually ended up at Cambridge and Harvard, so not too shabby. But her story, her journey and her commitment to her family are what drives this story.
I cannot BELIEVE some of the stuff that happened in this family, and the fact that Tara keeps going back sometimes…wow. But this is a fascinating book, and everyone should read it. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was great. Looking forward to more from Tara Westover in the future and praying she never never never goes back to Buck’s Peak.