A Memoir

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399590504
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Isolation and lack of formal education did not stop Tara Westover from her quest for knowledge. Against a backdrop of family violence and mental illness, Westover teaches herself math and grammar, and starts her formal education at Brigham Young University. Her journey is gripping as she struggle... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 12, 2019

Tara Westover's "Educated" is a departure from the usual fare for me, as most of my queue at the library consists of war novels and police procedurals. "Educated" was recommended to me by a close friend, so I decided I would take a look and was pleasantly surprised. The book really hit home for me, having grown up with a parent who was suffering from mental illness I saw a lot of similarities between my own story and Westover's. I was touched by the candidness with which she writes and connected to her narrative on a deep level. I would highly recommend this book to practically anyone and have cited it in describing my own childhood and subsequent adult experiences.

Jun 03, 2019

Really good read - reminded me of The Glass Castle

Jun 01, 2019

Boring and predictable. Poorly written and reads like someone’s fantasy bad childhood. She alleges her father had mental illness but it appears to me that she does, unable to distinguish reality from a “poor me, poor me” fantasy. Her parents deny all of this nonsense. Don’t bother with this book, I wished I hadn’t wasted the time reading it.

ReadingAdviser_Lori May 29, 2019

If you enjoyed reading The Glass Castle, Educated is the perfect memoir for you. Westover's amazing life story will keep you enthralled to the last page.

May 26, 2019

This book was recommended by both Bill Gates and Barack Obama. There is a lot of controversy about the book. Has the author elaborated some of the details, fictionalized others, etc? I guess that one question that has been raised several times is why she keep going back to a dangerous situation. I, like some others, feel that we do not have the whole story. I have had friends who where placed in similar situations and have had similar experience. I know people now who have never sent their children to a doctor. What the real story is is not really important. It is a look into the life of a dysfunctional family and the effects of a mentally ill person has upon his siblings or his children. It is in many ways a hard story to read and even though Tara does get an academic education she is still a product of her upbringing.

If this was not an actual memoir I would find the story hard to believe. The dangers to which the 7 children were exposed by their bi-polar father is heart breaking. Mother seems to have suffered 'Stockholm syndrome' and did little to protect her children, herself being caught up in the paranoid delusions of her husband. I am glad Tara lived to tell the tale. Doubtless her Mormon community is ashamed of their blindness to the neglect these children suffered and perhaps will have learned a lesson for their future.
The author exposes painful emotional events in almost poetic language. It is a personal triumph for Tara to have survived and a morality tale for a society which prioritizes parental rights to raise children irrespective of the damage they inflect on their own children. This will make an excellent book for a book-club discussion.

mtsukamoto May 22, 2019

This book is very difficult to listen to but i was so curious what Educated is all about so i finished listening to it. Some parts of this book is very upsetting and disturbing to me, it reminds me of when i was growing up, my parents only finished 6th grade but they always encouraged us to get a higher education, they also never physically or emotionally abuse us.
It amazes me how the Authors courage to get an Education and how she got into any schools and graduated with a Ph.D.

May 07, 2019

Wow! Tara and her siblings have lived incredible lives. I am so glad she wrote this book. It is very inspirational and encouraging as far as how much a person can overcome. I listened to the audiobook of this. Some parts were very hard to listen to, and I can't imagine what they were like to live through. One of my favorite parts of this book was Tara talking about how she convinced herself her memories were fabricated at one point in her life. The mind is a very powerful thing. I would definitely recommend this book. I hope this book helps people to be more patient, kind, and understanding to people who were not raised the same as them. I can imagine myself reacting poorly to some of the behaviors or questions Tara had and hopefully after reading this book, if placed in those situations, I will not.

JCLHeatherC May 02, 2019

Toxicity is toxicity even when it comes from your family. The blatant disregard for the well being and education of their 7 children and not to mention the utter psychopath living in their midst made this book a tough read. Her family turned to gaslighting her instead of dealing with a son who had anger issues (to put it mildly) and the fact that she put up with so much even after she 'got away' is hard to swallow.

May 01, 2019

Wow. Normally I start these recaps with a little spiel about how I don't remember how I found out about this book (which is still the case in this instance, although I'd have to imagine it came to me from all of the best seller lists I've seen), but this one I had to start with a single word. I wasn't sure what this book was about when I grabbed it, but everyone who saw I was reading it shared similar sentiments - 'you will love it'. Although novels are normally full of drama and keep your attention from beginning to end, memoirs tend to grab at my heartstrings and draw me fully into the story. This memoir is written by a daughter of parents who raised their children in a cycle of paranoia, abuse and fear. Even though the family was part of the Mormon faith, this is not a book bashing the religion or even those who are "doomsday prep-ers". This is a book about abuse and how both the abusers and the abused warp reality to survive. Some of the memories will make you shake your head, some will make you want to scream and some will bring tears to your eyes. Tara's story is one filled with terror, violence and, eventually, hope. Reading about Tara's life reminded me of the quote "Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.". It takes courage and strength to be able to tell our stories, and I am thankful Tara has been willing to share hers. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Feb 18, 2019

"Dad and his mother got along like two cats with their tails tied together. They could talk for a week and not agree about anything, but they were tethered by their devotion to the mountain."

Jan 08, 2019

“You are not fool’s gold, shining only under a particular light. Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were.”

Jan 08, 2019

“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”

Jan 08, 2019

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds” — Bob Marley
p. 257

Dec 17, 2018

I was able to tell myself that it didn't affect me, that he didn't affect me, because nothing affected me....I had misunderstood the vital truth: that it's not affecting me, that was its effect.

ArapahoeMaryA Oct 23, 2018

My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”


Add Age Suitability
Mar 23, 2019

pink_dolphin_3025 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at HCL

To Top