Educated by Tara Westover


An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge UniversityTara Westover was 17 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...

Details Educated

Release DateFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherRandom House
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

Reviews Educated

  • Angela M
    Difficult to read. Impossible to put down. A powerful, powerful book that you shouldn’t miss. I can’t just leave it at that because Tara Westover’s story deserves more than those few words. I don’t often read memoirs, but when I do I want them to be told by extraordinary people who have a meaningful story to tell and that would be faint praise for this book. It sounds odd to say how beautifully written this is because we are not spared of...
  • Will Byrnes
    On the highway below, the school bus rolls past without stopping. I am only 7, but I understand that it is this fact more than any other that makes my family different. We don't go to school. Dad worries that the government will force us to go, but it can't because it doesn't know about us. Four of my parents' seven children don't have birth certificates. We have no medical records because we were born at home and have never seen a doctor or nurs...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    5 brilliant stars to Educated! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 I grew up in a home of readers with a teacher mom and a dad who questioned my effort when I made an A-minus on my report card. When I began reading Educated, I was floored that Tara and her siblings were not in school, and they were not homeschooled either. How could this happen in modern times with compulsory schooling put in place long ago? Tara made it clear from the start that her family...
  • Emily May
    What a thoughtful, interesting fantasy novel.I'm kidding. I think. Some parts of this do seem farfetched, such as how an uneducated mountain wildgirl clicked her heels together, magicked up thousands of dollars (yeah, yeah, scholarships don't cover everything, you know), and went on to some of the world's most prestigious higher education centres. Intelligence is not the main thing required to attend Harvard or Cambridge; being able to pass exams...
  • Debra
    "It's strange how you give the people you love so much power over you"I am in the minority on this one, but this did not blow me away. I wanted to read this after seeing so many high ratings. I was expecting to love this book but ended up feeling meh about it. I actually wanted to hurry the book up in parts and other times found it to be a little repetitive. There were other times I wanted her to go into more detail or explain things more. One th...
  • Elyse
    Tara Westover’s book “Educated” is a distressing & discomforting - alarming & startling exposure of her Mormon fundamentalist family. “Educated” is a memoir of nonfiction - but names and identifying details have been changed. Aaron, Audrey, Benjamin, Erin, Faye, Gene, Vanessa, Judy, Peter, Sadie, Shannon, Shawn, Susan, Robert, and Robin are pseudonyms. Tara tells us in her authors notes: “This is not about Mormonism. Neither is it abo...
  • Liz
    I grew up with my nose perpetually in a book. So, the idea of not being able to go to school, of being deprived of an education, hit me really hard. It was hard for me to grasp that things I take for granted, like knowing what the Holocaust was or who MLK, Jr. was, were black holes to Tara. Tara Westover is the child of a religious fanatic, someone who sees the government as pure evil. And by government, he means schools, hospitals, vaccines, sea...
  • Debbie
    5 OMG How did she end up alive and educated? stars[News flash: I see that this review is WAY too long! I’m such a blabbermouth! Feel free to skip sections. I went way overboard. Geez….]Tara did a lot more than ride a pogo stick to get from a junkyard in Idaho to a Ph.D. in Cambridge.Meanwhile, I’m bouncing on mine, going high and far to escape her whacked-out father and super-scary psycho brother. Plus, face it, I bring out the pogo stick w...
  • Karen
    Wow! Tara Westgrove is one of the strongest, and bravest people I have ever read about! This woman grew up as the youngest child in a big survivalist, Mormon family, in Idaho at Buck Peak. So much danger for her in that life, mostly because of her father and one of her older brothers.This memoir is so brutal at times and hard to read, your heart just breaks for this girl, and for some of her siblings.Tara rises up to become extremely “educated...
  • Carol (Bookaria)
    I was blown away by this book. I finished it a few days ago and can’t stop thinking about it.Tara Westover grew up under the watchful eye of a survivalist and fundamentalist family. Her parents did not believe in sending children to school for fear of being brainwashed, they did not believe in doctors, hospitals or medication. Whenever a member of the family was injured they would be treated at home with tinctures, herbs, and homemade remedies....
  • Linda
    I must tell you.......Educated: A Memoir scalded the very edges of my soul. It took me through a whole gamut of my own emotions from belief to disbelief, from hesitation to doubt to wariness, and most importantly, from the weightiness of compassion and empathy to the restrictions of frustration and anger.Tara Westover tells her story straight out through the reflections seen by her own eyes, her own jagged experiences, and in her own words. As yo...
  • Darwin8u
    "Not knowing for certain, but refusing to give way to those who claim certainty, was a privilege I had never allowed myself. My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs."- Tara Westover, Educated: A MemoirThis book feels like it was written by a sister, a cousin, a niece. Tara Westover grew up a few mountains over from my dad's Heglar...
  • PorshaJo
    This one first came to my attention via a GR review. I thought wow, I need to read this now. The wonderful Traveling Sisters group set it up as a slow read and I was in. Grabbed a copy from NetGalley and was ready to go. BUT.....and a big BUT......I didn't like this one, I had to force myself to finish. Had it not been for the group read, I'm sure I would have DNF'd this one.So I'm probably in the minority in not liking this one. It was more of a...
  • Dan Schwent
    When a girl raised on a mountain in Idaho by her survivalist fundamentalist Mormon family sets foot in a classroom for the first time at the age of 17, how will things turn out? Can she ever escape the past?Yeah, I made that sound like one of the sleazy thrillers I'm fond of but Educated is a memoir, not a potboiler. I don't normally read memoirs but I decided to take Random House up on their offer when they came knocking.Educated is the story of...
  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]
    FIVE STARSThis is one of those books that I can't stop talking about. Literally. My dental hygienist even wrote it down because she asked me for a good book recommendation. She likes biographies. YASSSSSSSSS! I'M READING THE BEST MEMOIR EVER!!! YOU MUST BUY IT TODAY!!! (That was in between spitting and rinsing, of course.) I love memoirs written by unusual people. Tara Westover is not only highly educated, but she is stubborn as a bulldog and pul...
  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    So this book is billed as being along the same lines as The Glass CastleMy little nothing opinion falls around something like this. Tara grows up in a different kind of family. Her dad knows that the end of the world is coming and makes sure his family is always ready. He has them preparing food constantly, digs a shelter, does not believe in association with anything government (including doctors) is a midwife that practices with herbal cu...
  • Carol
    Buck Peak - a dangerous place to any age!Tara Westover grew up on a mountain with a paranoid, volatile father who spent his days preparing for the end of the world; a submissive mother who was blind to her children's hurt, five brothers and a brother so threateningly scary at times, I could hardly believe what he was doing or what I was reading. Tara's story is one of courage, strength and struggle as a child and as a you...
  • Berit☀️✨Traveling Sister✨
    3 Sad to Say Stars 🌟🌟🌟Ugh this is hard for me... I really am such a positive reviewer for the most part, but this book I unfortunately found disappointing.... this could be for multiple reasons, I went in with high expectations... I had read so many glowing reviews for this book I was expecting greatness.... also this is absolutely not in my preferred list of genres, but this also could’ve helped the book.... as I have very few books t...
  • Dem
    Written with the skill and resonance of a work of fiction, Tara Westover's memoir is heart-breaking and frank and yet hopeful in its telling.Westover was born in 1986, grown up in a rural Idaho radical Mormon Family dominated by her father Gene who was determined to raise his children away from the clutches of the government and the wider world. She had never heard of the Holocaust, Napoleon, or Martin Luther King and she had thought Europe was a...
  • Luffy
    Well, this one was a special book. I didn't like what I read in the beginning. But it's a reminder of what harm religion can do. But quickly we came out of this Sam Harris-like territory, and went into more chaos.There are a few cases like Tara's. But not everyone of them can write like her. She reminds me of Beryl Markham with her biography, West with the Night.Reading this book was very much aligning with the values that I hold sacred. The writ...
  • Marialyce
    2 stars and I know, I am an outlier.I have been born with a gene called the "doubting Thomas" gene. It has made me very leery of trusting and believing a lot of things and unfortunately this gene kicked in big time in this story billed as a memoir.While I do believe that the things described by Tara Westover might have happened, I also have to think that this was a book of childhood memories. Sometimes, as children, we distort the truth, and some...
  • Cheri
    ” I will not makeThe same mistakes that you didI will not let myselfCause my heart so much miseryI will not breakThe way you did, you fell so hardI've learned the hard wayTo never let it get that far“I lose my wayAnd it's not too long before you point it outI cannot cryBecause I know that's weakness in your eyesI'm forced to fakeA smile, a laugh everyday of my lifeMy heart can't possibly breakWhen it wasn't even whole to start with” --“Be...
  • Esil
    A very high 4 stars.Educated is a powerful and heartbreaking memoir. Tara Westover grew up in Idaho in a Mormon family. She is the youngest of seven children growing up on an isolated rural property. A fundamentalist version of religion fed her father’s paranoia and his antigovernment and survivalist view of the world. Until she was 17 years old, she had never gone to school and was barely homeschooled. Clearly brilliant, she managed to get int...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    Another UPDATE: The Westover family company, with photos an interview with Tara.★“Dad waves at a tower of cars and says, “Luke, cut off those tanks, yeah?” And Luke says, “Sure thing, Dad.” He lays the torch against his hip and strikes flint. Flames erupt from nowhere and take him. He screams, fumbles with the twine, screams again, and takes off t...
  • Rebecca Foster
    One of the most powerful and well-written memoirs I’ve ever read. This tells of a young woman’s off-grid upbringing in Idaho and the hard work that took her from almost complete ignorance to a Cambridge PhD. Westover’s is an incredible story about testing the limits of perseverance and sanity. Her father may have been a survivalist, but her psychic survival is the most impressive outcome here. What takes this astonishing life story to the n...
    This memoir by Tara Westover has overwhelmed me. There is a LOT to digest here. You will be shocked and horrified by many of the stories you read here about the family Tara grew up in. Ironically enough, you will also be in awe and have a grudging respect and appreciation for other aspects of these characters. As I mentally recount the many stories Tara shared of her family, it's staggering to realize that this all really happened. There were man...
  • abby
    "They believed in modesty; we practiced it. They believed in God's power to heal; we left our injuries in God's hands. They believed in preparing for the Second Coming; we were actually prepared."Even in a rural, religious Mormon town in Idaho, the Westover family was different. They didn't go to school. Tara Westover's father believed school would take his children off their Godly path, which included helping out in the family metal scrap yard a...
  • Bianca
    I occasionally indulge in memoirs. I wouldn't have paid attention to this one had it not been for the raving reviews of some GR friends. I already knew the premise and I did ask myself whether I should read it, considering that my anti-religion sentiments don't need any more kindling. Curiosity and/or FOMO got the better of me.More often than not I feel even more apprehensive about rating a memoir, as it feels like you're rating somebody's life. ...
  • Tammy
    Knowledge is power and Educated is a powerful memoir.
  • Cathrine ☯️
    4.5★After finishing a personal story like this I’m drawn to reading other reviews because it’s interesting to learn what others take away or if we had similar reactions. A quick scan of professional offerings repeatedly show Morman in the headlines yet while that is her family’s religious identity it’s not about how that particular belief system skewed their lives—people will use what they philosophically embrace to uphold their own d...