Educated by Tara Westover
“Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were.”
While reading this book, I went through so many strong emotions; anger, frustration, disbelief, shock, sympathy, heart-wrenching sadness and horror. I had a feeling it would be tough to get through just like with Jeanette Wall’s, The Glass Castle because in both memoirs, these poor children are subjected to an unsafe and unstable home. There is still love apparent between parents and siblings, but love can only overcome so much when untreated mental illness is involved.
Tara Westover so wonderfully depicted a harsh reality with such beautiful writing. I couldn't put this book down, and although it's a memoir, it read like a well-written novel; captivating me from start to finish. When I thought I was done being shocked, Westover proved me wrong. She also did an amazing job of showing the different stages of her life and her changing opinions. From blind obedience and acceptance, to some small doubts and questions, to the realization that things were wrong and it wasn’t her fault nor had she made up certain memories.
Although this book does touch on certain Morman beliefs and traditions, it was mostly focused on the fact that Tara’s father was a survivalist and feared the government so much that he didn’t believe in sending his kids to school, hospitals, or even registering their births. Obviously, this caused for some tense and difficult situations throughout Tara’s life and even as a young adult she had to deal with the repercussions of living under these rules and influences. She has some shocking discoveries and due to her innocence that she never admits to, she is judged harshly. It is amazing what Westover was able to accomplish and how she was able to finally accept things to move forward.
Synopsis: Tara 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 for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. 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 one of Tara's older brothers became violent.