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.