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Educated : a memoir
2018
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"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."--Provided by publisher. - (Baker & Taylor)

Traces the author's experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family's paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond. - (Baker & Taylor)

Traces the author's experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family's paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn an acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond. - (Baker & Taylor)

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER &; NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW &; ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA&;S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR &; BILL GATES&;S HOLIDAY READING LIST &; FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE&;S AWARD IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY &; FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE&;S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK &; FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD &; FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES BOOK PRIZE

NAMED ONE OF PASTE&;S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE &; NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post &; O: The Oprah Magazine &; Time &; NPR &; Good Morning America &; San Francisco Chronicle &; The Guardian &; The Economist &; Financial Times &; Newsday &; New York Post &; theSkimm &; Refinery29 &; Bloomberg &; Self &; Real Simple &; Town & Country &; Bustle &; Paste &; Publishers Weekly &; Library Journal &; LibraryReads &; BookRiot &; Pamela Paul, KQED &; New York Public Library


An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara&;s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she&;d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

&;Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover&;s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?&;&;Vogue


&;Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.&;&;The New York Times Book Review - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

Tara Westover was born in Idaho in 1986. She received her BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Educated is her first book. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

To the Westovers, public education was the quickest way to put yourself on the wrong path. By the time the author, the youngest Westover, had come along, her devout Mormon parents had pulled all of their seven children out of school, preferring to teach just the essentials: a little bit of reading, a lot of scripture, and the importance of family and a hard day's work. Westover's debut memoir details how her isolated upbringing in the mountains of Idaho led to an unexpected outcome: Cambridge, Harvard, and a PhD. Though Westover's entrance into academia is remarkable, at its heart, her memoir is a family history: not just a tale of overcoming but an uncertain elegy to the life that she ultimately rejected. Westover manages both tenderness and a savage honesty that spares no one, not even herself: nowhere is this more powerful than in her relationship with her brother Shawn, her abuser and closest friend. In its keen exploration of family, history, and the narratives we create for ourselves, Educated becomes more than just a success story. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A recent Cambridge University doctorate debuts with a wrenching account of her childhood and youth in a strict Mormon family in a remote region of Idaho.It's difficult to imagine a young woman who, in her teens, hadn't heard of the World Trade Center, the Holocaust, and virtually everything having to do with arts and popular culture. But so it was, as Westover chronicles here in fairly chronological fashion. In some ways, the author's father was a classic anti-government paranoiac—when Y2K failed to bring the end of the world, as he'd predicted, he was briefly humbled. Her mother, though supportive at times, remained true to her beliefs about the subordinate roles of women. One brother was horrendously abusive to the author and a sister, but the parents didn't do much about it. Westover didn't go to public school and never received professional medical care or vaccinations. She worked in a junkyard with her father, whose fortunes rose and fell and rose again when his wi fe struck it rich selling homeopathic remedies. She remained profoundly ignorant about most things, but she liked to read. A brother went to Brigham Young University, and the author eventually did, too. Then, with the encouragement of professors, she ended up at Cambridge and Harvard, where she excelled—though she includes a stark account of her near breakdown while working on her doctoral dissertation. We learn about a third of the way through the book that she kept journals, but she is a bit vague about a few things. How, for example, did her family pay for the professional medical treatment of severe injuries that several of them experienced? And—with some justification—she is quick to praise herself and to quote the praise of others. An astonishing account of deprivation, confusion, survival, and success. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

A girl claws her way out of a claustrophobic, violent fundamentalist family into an elite academic career in this searing debut memoir. Westover recounts her upbringing with six siblings on an Idaho farm dominated by her father Gene (a pseudonym), a devout Mormon with a paranoid streak who tried to live off the grid, kept four children (including the author) out of school, refused to countenance doctors (Westover's mother, Faye, was an unlicensed midwife who sold homeopathic medicines), and stockpiled supplies and guns for the end-time. Westover was forced to work from the age of 11 in Gene's scrap and construction businesses under incredibly dangerous conditions; the grisly narrative includes lost fingers, several cases of severe brain trauma, and two horrible burns that Faye treated with herbal remedies. Thickening the dysfunction was the author's bullying brother, who physically brutalized her for wearing makeup and other immodest behaviors. When she finally escaped the toxic atmosphere of dogma, suspicion, and patriarchy to attend college and then grad school at Cambridge, her identity crisis precipitated a heartbreaking rupture. Westover's vivid prose makes this saga of the pressures of conformity and self-assertion that warp a family seem both terrifying and ordinary. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

Raised in an alternative Mormon home in rural Idaho, Westover worked as an assistant midwife to her mother and labored in her father's junkyard. Formal schooling wasn't a priority, because her parents believed that public education was government indoctrination and that Westover's future role would be to support her husband. But her older brother's violence and their family's refusal to acknowledge problems at home resulted in the teen contemplating escape through education. Admittance to Brigham Young University was difficult. Westover taught herself enough to receive a decent score on the ACT, but because of her upbringing, she didn't understand rudimentary concepts of sanitation and etiquette, and her learning curve was steep. However, she eventually thrived, earning scholarships to Harvard and Cambridge—though she grappled with whether to include her toxic family in her new life. Born in 1986, Westover interviewed family members to help her write the first half. Her well-crafted account of her early years will intrigue teens, but the memoir's second part, covering her undergraduate and graduate experiences in the "real world," will stun them. VERDICT A gripping, intimate, sometimes shocking, yet ultimately inspiring work. Perfect for fans of memoirs about overcoming traumatic childhoods or escaping from fundamentalist religious communities, such as Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle and Ruth Wariner's The Sound of Gravel.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi
Prologue xiii
PART ONE
1 Choose The Good
3(10)
2 The Midwife
13(11)
3 Cream Shoes
24(7)
4 Apache Women
31(10)
5 Honest Dirt
41(13)
6 Shield And Buckler
54(13)
7 The Lord Will Provide
67(9)
8 Tiny Harlots
76(8)
9 Perfect In His Generations
84(8)
10 Shield Of Feathers
92(6)
11 Instinct
98(6)
12 Fish Eyes
104(8)
13 Silence In The Churches
112(10)
14 My Feet No Longer Touch Earth
122(10)
15 No More A Child
132(10)
16 Disloyal Man, Disobedient Heaven
142(11)
PART TWO
17 To Keep It Holy
153(7)
18 Blood And Feathers
160(7)
19 In The Beginning
167(7)
20 Recitals Of The Fathers
174(8)
21 Skullcap
182(5)
22 What We Whispered And What We Screamed
187(11)
23 I'm From Idaho
198(9)
24 A Knight, Errant
207(9)
25 The Work Of Sulphur
216(7)
26 Waiting For Moving Water
223(5)
27 If I Were A Woman
228(7)
28 Pygmalion
235(9)
29 Graduation
244(11)
PART THREE
30 Hand Of The Almighty
255(10)
31 Tragedy Then Farce
265(9)
32 A Brawling Woman In A Wide House
274(5)
33 Sorcery Of Physics
279(5)
34 The Substance Of Things
284(6)
35 West Of The Sun
290(7)
36 Four Long Arms, Whirling
297(9)
37 Gambling For Redemption
306(8)
38 Family
314(6)
39 Watching The Buffalo
320(7)
40 Educated
327(4)
Acknowledgments 331(2)
A Note on the Text 333

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