Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover is an emotional story based on the author’s life in Idaho where she was raised by Mormon survivalists in an isolated environment. Westover’s early life and the experiences of her immediate family were often so horrific and unbelievable that I shuddered. Her father was an undiagnosed bipolar who lived in expectation of the end of the world and her mother, clearly a battered woman, concocted herbal remedies and was an uneducated midwife.
Tara worked with her family in her father’s scrapyard and was “homeschooled “. This term is used loosely; her parents put little to no effort into educating her or her six siblings because they chose to live off the grid. Several of the children in the family were never issued birth certificates because they were born at home and their parents never registered their existence. Crazy stuff! That’s just the tip of this iceberg!
Tara eventually leaves the family to pursue an education where, amazingly, she excelled beyond belief. Her studies change her thinking and world concepts which in turn alienated her from her parents.
This is an excellent memoir which I found difficult to read because so much mental and physical pain is contained within. I thought there were some gaps in the story, but they are inconsequential. I do however, recommend this memoir. It is an inspiring tale of the power of education and survival.