By Tara Westover
Educated by Tara Westover is an unforgettable memoir of an isolated young girl who finds the courage to leave her family and go on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara spent her early life preparing 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. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education. Tara was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom.
When a 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 math, 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 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 eventually Cambridge.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-discovery. Westover offers 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.