Book Review: "Educated – A Memoir"

“I think the tragedy here isn’t that bad people do bad things. I think the tragedy is what good people do to keep secrets.”

Hi friends! Happy weekend. There is no denying that in the last few weeks, the world has changed. COVID19 has impacted almost every aspect of normalcy. In light of the current state of events, I am posting about something that can be enjoyed in times of wellness or crisis- reading! Yes, I am back with another book review. The above quote comes from an interview with Tara Westover, the author of, “Educated: A Memoir.” I just recently finished reading this book in about two days. It was that gripping/ unbelievable/ surreal/ incredible.

This book came up as a suggested read on Goodreads, so I did a little research and saw glowing reviews from Barak Obama to the New York Times. I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad that I did. “Educated,” is truly unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a memoir (from someone my age) that reads like fiction.

“Educated,” chronicles the life of a girl born to a brood of survivalists in the shadow of Buck’s Peak, a mountain in Southern Idaho. Tara is one of seven kids in the Westover family. Her father (Gene) runs a scrapyard in the mountains and her mother (Faye) helps him maintain the household. Gene isolates his family – Tara receives no formal education and doesn’t even have a birth certificate. He denies them health care in medical emergencies and refuses to provide an education in anything other than the Bible and the ways of life on the harsh mountain. The Westover family suffers horrific and unbearable accidents, mainly as a result of Gene’s actions or ignorance.

Eventually, Tara begins to realize that going to college is the only way she will be able to break free from the physical and emotional prison her family keeps her in. This book is about not letting anyone, even those you love the most, stand in the way of your own freedom. It is also about overcoming impossible odds to realize one’s true potential. At it’s heart, this is a story about how education and learning can enable growth, change and survival in the most abysmal of circumstances.

I don’t want to give too much away. Since this book is a memoir, it is difficult to summarize without telling the story itself. The depth and beauty of this book lies in the details of Tara’s incredible life story. Westover lights up every single page and I could not read this fast enough. Her writing is absolutely beautiful, poetic, and gripping. Some parts of this book were extremely graphic and violent and hard to get through. I would very much recommend this book with the aforementioned caveat. 4.5 stars out of 5.

Did you read this book? What did you think? What is your favorite book you’ve read recently? Let me know in the comments below!

PS: Did you know that if you have a Kindle, or the Kindle App, you can download books for free through your library card? Since many libraries (including the Cleveland branches) are closed at this time, I thought I would share this little piece of information in case anyone was unaware. Similarly, you can download audio books for free using Hoopla or other apps, just by using your card!

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