In 2018, a woman by the name of Tara Westover shocked the world when she released her memoir, titled “Educated.” A story of perseverance, grit, and determination, “Educated” documents Westover’s survivalist and sheltered upbringing. Raised in a Mormon family in the mountains of rural Idaho, she was kept separate from the modern world, along with her six siblings.
Her parents, Gene and Faye Westover, were paranoid about government control, hospitals, and the public school system, thus Tara never received any primary education.
Driven by a hunger for knowledge, however, Westover taught herself enough to take the ACT and was accepted into Brigham Young University. This turns out to be just the beginning of her academic and professional career.
I have read “Educated” twice now, the second time being this past semester, and both times I have been absolutely captivated by Westover’s story and the exciting, heart wrenching and fascinating components of the memoir.
The story focuses a lot on how Tara’s beliefs were shaped by her father’s, as she had never gone to school before college and was never really given the opportunity to form her own opinions.
The shocking part is how quickly Tara is able to absorb and retain new information that she learns, enough to eventually grant her a Gates scholarship.
In May 2019, Tara Westover was the graduation speaker for my sister’s graduation from Northeastern University. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear her speak and learn about her before reading her memoir. What stood out to me was the fact that she is so well-spoken and incredibly intellectual that I would have had no idea the hardships she has faced in her life, including the complete estrangement from society, if not for her book.
Following the ceremony, I picked up a copy of “Educated” and proceeded to read the whole thing over the span of a few days.
It is one of those books that you just cannot put down, and I devoured page after page, accompanied by laughter, tears, anticipation and admiration.
After reading it a second time, I can say two things with absolute certainty: “Educated” is one of the best books I have ever read, and Tara Westover is truly an inspiration. “Educated” is an absolute must-read for anyone and everyone.