Educated is a memoir about a young person’s triumph. Brought up in the shadows of ideological mania, Tara Westover’s tells harrowing stories of her upbringing surrounded by abuse and no education.
Though within 10 years, Westover has succeeded in giving herself more than what life ever gave her.
Now in her early 30s, she was the youngest of seven in a survivalist family living in the outskirts of a mountain in a Mormon pocket of southeastern Idaho.
Up until the 17 years old, Tara had no birth certificate. Even worse, nobody could remember the precise date on which she was born.
She was “home schooled” until she was eight and that was as much education as she got during her early years. While her contemporaries were off to college, she knew almost nothing about WWII’s Holocaust.
She became educated in helping her mom mix remedies and sorting scrap metal with her dad.
Her ‘textbook’ was the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the speeches of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. The only science book available was meant for kindergarten children complete with colourful and glossy illustrations.
Her paranoid father, Gene Westover pretty much influences the story of Educated. He passionately believes that the end is near and stocks up the cellar with food and riffles.
Tara recalls being beaten, strangled, dragged around by her hair and pushed into the toilet by her brother for wearing traces of makeup and talking to a boy. He even goes as far as calling her while she was away at college, to ask whether he should kill her himself or send an assassin to do the job.
Though Tara’s life struggle is hard to digest for the average person, she manages to escape to college and then to university, and then into postgraduate education.
Educated is a story of a young person who left home for an education despite the suffering she experienced.