Review of Educated by Tara Westover
I was attracted to this book because of the premise – A young woman grows up in a survivalist family and leaves to learn what she has been missing. This memoir does cover that subject, but it is much more than that. This is a story of religious fanaticism, domestic abuse, and triumph over tremendous odds.
Author Tara Westover was raised by a Mormon father and mother with fanatical ideas about the government, science, education, medicine, and religion. The story of how she escaped her twisted childhood to go on to earn degrees from a number of highly regarded universities makes for interesting reading. Especially compelling are her first steps out into the real world, where she is exposed to new social and economic ideas. Along the way, we learn of many dark family secrets.
Her father credits Tara’s academic success to homeschooling. You learn early on that that is a lie. There was little to no homeschooling. Tara and her siblings were too busy trying to help their father scrape by. What made the difference? Two things: reading and opportunity. Tara was self-taught. She read everything she could get her hands on. The knowledge gained from reading, however, can only get you so far. An education costs money. Fortunately for Tara, she caught a few breaks along the way and with the help of a few influential people managed to propel her self into the stratosphere of higher education.
I learned later in life the importance of reading. Reading opens you up to new ideas, cultures, and experiences. I also learned the importance of connections. If you want to excel in life, read and surround yourself with people smarter than yourself.