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Book Review: Educated by Tara Westover

Originally published: February 20, 2018
Genre: Memoir and Autobiography
Original language: English

About the authorTara Westover is an American writer, born in Idaho in Mormon family, earned Ph.D. in history from Cambridge in 2014. Currently lives in the UK.


The book (that was recognised with numerous “Best of the Best” in 2018, is recommended by former President Barack Obama. Being sold in 54 territories and is getting translated into 30 languages. 

Not by chance I decided to close a Book Review Column 2018 with this choice. A powerful memoir based on the memories Tara, the girl who was raised in Mormon family. During her childhood and youth, she was helping her father at the junkyard. Her mother was a midwife who in addition homeschooled Tara and her four siblings. The first time Tara attended a school was when she turned 17.

According to beliefs of Tara’s family, the government, hospitals, and schools were controlled by illuminati. That explains the fact of Tara not having medical records and challenges in obtaining her own birth certificate.

Viewing the world through the prism of family theories Tara was isolated from the ordinary school life, friends, and the world in general. Her individual curiosity moved her forward. Even though her home education was limited and not compelling, she took efforts in preparing for ACT exam. After overperforming on the second attempt she was accepted to the college. Tara knew that the family was not willing to support her on this path. Painfully taking this fact, she kept moving in pursuing her own dreams in obtaining the education. For Tara it meant to escape the rules of order where she did not belong.

We often stereotype that in the times of globalization education cannot be limited even in such developed countries as the United States. Nonetheless, it still happens. Isolation can be brutal for the future of our kids… even if it has kindhearted intentions.

My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, empathic, absolute. It never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs”. Overcoming and exposing herself to the world, Tara was able to lead her life. Albeit such decisions were not supported by her family. She became a visiting fellow at Harvard University (USA) in 2010. In 2014 she was awarded Ph.D. in history by University of Cambridge (UK).  

Reading this book and reasoning the progress of humanity I was agitated how the various ways of schooling affect our perception of things that are around us. The limited access to education creates unnecessary labels and fears. I could not stop thinking how courageous you must be to protect your own identity… When your own family is against you, when you are alone on your path. And how powerful the education is and how detached we become without broadening our horizons by using the knowledge.  



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