Educated (Genre: Memoir)
by Tara Westover

I’ve known people in rural Idaho like Westover describes in her book. I knew a man who didn’t want his children going to school because they’d get brainwashed by the government. I knew another man who hoarded food and supplies for the End Times. I’ve heard of a least one midwife who distrusted doctors and hospitals.

So much of what Westover writes about her family rings true. Her sad story of mental illness and abuse fostered in an authoritarian family made for a compelling read. I couldn’t put the book down waiting for Westover to break free and no longer be susceptible to her disturbed father or violent brother.

Toward the end of the book though, I felt like I’d stepped into a particularly acrimonious divorce, a split in a family. This made me slightly distrustful of the author’s perspective. My daughter tells me she’s more comfortable dating divorced men who’ve accepted and forgiven their ex-spouse.  I’m not sure Westover has forgiven her family yet, despite her claims to the contrary.  In the last chapters it seemed like she was seeking converts to her viewpoint.  She even names the family members that support her story and those that don’t.

Ultimately, Westover’s memoir tells a larger truth though: education is a powerful tool to dispel the ignorance that allows tyranny, whether it be tyranny in a government, or tyranny in your own family.

2 thoughts on “Educated Book Review

  1. It seems a bit odd that she included the names of her family members. I’m sure that wasn’t necessary to the story, but I didn’t read the book so I can’t say for sure. Ignorance is a scary thing when it’s self-imposed and, in our Trump times, actually celebrated.

    1. She used pseudonyms for the first name of several of her family members. But her last name is the same as theirs. She also gave the location of the valley she grew up in if not the town, so it was easy to locate where and whom she was writing about. Apparently, the family responded that Tara Westover has told a version of her growing up they don’t agree with. They’ve decided to not file suit because they say, Tara is their daughter and they love her.

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