Educated by Tara Westover


By Tara Westover

  • Release Date: 2018-02-20
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 481 Ratings
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”USA Today

“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

Tara Westover was seventeen 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 metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. 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 an older brother became violent.

When another 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 mathematics, 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 pivotal 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 to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted 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.


  • Educated

    By Takeaway time
    Interesting, but confusing. Just like her life! I could not relate to such an intelligent woman having the doubts about herself and her understanding of abuse that she experienced. Makes me doubt that education can help overcome poor nurturing.
  • Educated

    By 3 kids, one mom
    An amazing, incredible story. Read it. There are few books that will touch you in the same way.
  • Educated

    By Ebbersdad
  • Educated

    By Jomar150
    A brilliant memoir that is a must read and cannot be put down -- how an uneducated young lady with fanatical parents in Idaho rises to overcome every obstacle in life to succeed and achieve a PHD. Outstanding book!!
  • Educated

    By Hunnastar
    Amazing writing. I was captivated from the beginning.
  • Estranged from family? A must read

    By Kimballahism
    As a recovering Mormon from a similar life story, almost as twisted, this book helped me to put my journey to freedom, that came at the cost of family estrangement, in better perspective. While Tara treads lightly on Mormonism, it is the catalyst that destroys family. I’ve not read a book cover to cover without putting it down like I did this book. It’s an excellent book. Unfortunately, the fundamentalist Mormons will only become more fundamentalist by reading it. Let go and let live—Life really is about choices whether you grew up believing there was only one correct choice as a Mormon or not. Thanks Tara.
  • Inspiring.

    By Verbose Boss
    I cannot even tell you how much I love this book for the questions she raises about truths (hers vs others), parental responsibility, denial, twenty-first century feminism, and the thirst for education. And, how her dad was actually right about almost half his brood not needing a public school primary education (and I was a PS teacher) and how it didn’t matter for the other half, because they were being taken care of by him. Even if he was a raving bipolar lunatic!
  • Amazing Story

    By emmaKlemon
    "Educated" is an incredible and well-written story. It is a bit difficult to read at times because there is a lot of abuse and violence. However, I could not put it down and it has an inspiring and hopeful conclusion. If you enjoyed "Glass Castle," you will like this book as well.
  • Page turning treasure

    By M.cleary
    What a beautiful painful story, so well written and moving! Make sure you have sick time on the books because once you start it, you won’t put it down. You’ll be missing work to finish it. I stayed up late and devoured every page. I loved it!
  • Educated

    By Word Lover 70
    This autobiography is an outstanding work. Ms. Westover has written her story with forth right delivery. At times it is a painful read as the graphic details are unimaginable. It is a powerful story of how the human spirit is capable of overcoming horrendous abuse. Her perseverance to eventually find her own voice is revealed as she goes through the formal and informal processes of becoming educated. The best book I have read thus far this year!!