Author(s): Tara Westover
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times
"A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle."--O: The Oprah Magazine
"Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable."--USA Today
"The extremity of Westover's upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing."--The New York Times Book Review
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 metal in her father's junkyard.
Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. 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 an older brother became violent.
When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one's closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
"A punch to the gut, a slow burn, a savage indictment, a love letter: Educated somehow contrives to be all these things at once. Tara Westover guides us through the extraordinary Western landscape of her coming of age, and in clear, tender prose makes us feel what she felt. We give ourselves over to her telling, even when she takes us to the very darkest places a family can dwell. Rarely have I read a book that made me so uncomfortable, so enraged, and at the same time so utterly, entirely absorbed. I loved this book, and this woman." -- Claire Dederer
Tara Westover was born in rural Idaho. She studied history at Brigham Young University and upon graduation was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, where she pursued an MPhil in intellectual history and political thought. She received her PhD in the same subject from Cambridge in 2014.