Imagine growing up in a home where your father’s believes that public school is a government-run brainwashing institution. That’s the tip of the iceberg of the Westover family. Written in a way that reads more like a novel than a memoir, Educated by Tara Westover is the first hand account of Tara’s life growing up and eventually getting out of Buck’s Creek, Idaho.
Her stories are alarming, amazing, and occasionally stomach-turning. She tells of her father’s distrust in modern medicine and hospitals, of her brothers’ life-altering injuries, the jobs she had and what it took for her to leave home.
At times the author’s life seems unbelievable. Literally. One of her brothers crashes his motorcycle. His injuries are so bad that Tara describes being able to see his brain as his blood pools around him — I was sure he wouldn’t survive — and yet her father urged her to bring him home, not to call an ambulance. [I read this thinking ‘oh my gosh! WHAT!]
The writing is excellent and foreshadows Tara’s future: despite her father’s disbelief in public education, she rises above. And in the most spectacular of ways. She attends college and eventually earns her PhD.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves a good memoir, is prepared to be shocked (and possibly a little disturbed) and is interested in unconventional families. To say I liked this book seems unfair because the content is so dark (and true!) and very little of what happens to Tara is actually good. However, I enjoyed reading it. It was interesting, held my attention and is ultimately a story of hope and perseverance. And, on a lighter note, it made me realize that despite how crazy my family feels sometimes, all the people related to me are comfortingly normal, compared to some.
Also, the way she speaks about mental health is extremely important and empowering.
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