Educated: A Memoir

By: Tara Westover

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In "Educated: A Memoir," Tara Westover narrates a journey of self-discovery and intellectual awakening that begins on a mountain in Idaho and reaches the halls of Cambridge. Born into a family deeply suspicious of mainstream education and government, Tara's childhood is marked by isolation and a rigorous adherence to extreme survivalist beliefs. Without formal schooling or medical care, her upbringing is both extraordinary and harrowing, dominated by a father who prepares for the end of days and a violent brother whose actions go unchecked.

Westover's path to education is a testament to the transformative power of knowledge. Initially, her learning is confined to the family's farm and the lessons taught by her father, steeped in a blend of faith and conspiracy. The turning point comes when Tara decides to educate herself, leading to her passing the ACT and stepping into a classroom for the first time at seventeen. This experience ignites a thirst for knowledge that takes her to Brigham Young University and beyond. The contrast between her home life and the world of academia is stark, challenging her beliefs and identity.

As Tara delves deeper into her academic pursuits, the conflict between her education and her family's ideals intensifies. The memoir captures the struggle of straddling two worlds – the insular, often dangerous life she knows, and the liberating, yet unfamiliar realm of academia. Her journey is not just about acquiring knowledge from textbooks, but also about learning to trust her own experiences and thoughts. It's a story of breaking free from mental and physical confines and the painful yet necessary process of questioning one's upbringing.

The climax of Westover's story is not just about academic success, but about the personal emancipation that comes with education. The memoir highlights the courage it takes to question and redefine one's identity, especially when it means alienating oneself from loved ones. Tara's journey is a power...

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