Educated by Tara Westover Book Summary


NAMED ONE OF PASTES BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post O: The Oprah MagazineTime • NPR • Good Morning America San Francisco ChronicleThe Guardian The Economist Financial TimesNewsdayNew York PosttheSkimmRefinery29BloombergSelfReal Simple Town & CountryBustlePastePublishers WeeklyLibrary JournalLibraryReadsBookRiot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

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

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her 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. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. 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.

“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue

“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review

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Educated (Tara Westover) Book Reviews

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- Read this now5 star

Best book I’ve read this year!

- Incredibly gripping5 star

Tara’s story is remarkable. I highly recommend everyone read this book. It was one of those books that makes you dread finishing it.

- Beautifully written5 star

An amazing story told beautifully.

- Educated5 star

A remarkable story of personhood found through struggle, pain both physical & mental, and the strength of knowledge sought through an understanding of a philosophy of history. Education ignited the heart of this author. Her strong will & sense of love speaks to hearts beyond these pages.

- So unique5 star

This book was eye opening and had me crying at certain parts! A must read!

- Great book5 star

This book was an eye opener of the other side of education in this country. There are people who have the access to education, and the roads nicely paved in that direction, who take it for granted and then there are those who have no easy access, or permission to go to school, who will get as far as the stars to at least learn about what’s beyond their line of sight.

- Thankful4 star

As a retired teacher, I often wonder how my previous students are doing, where they there they may be working, how is the family? The situations I learned about were shocking. I believe that the teachers/ professors went above and beyond to assist her. They listened, believed and encouraged. Teachers are often able to love on those in unfortunate circumstances.

- An unexpected page turner...5 star

Loved this book, couldn’t put it down! One of the best parts about it was wondering about the truth vs. perspective aspect - how different would this story be if told by a 3rd party? The annotations throughout the book detailing where others have different recollections of the same memories reinforced this question more and more as I read. Still not sure, but no matter what it’s one wild life story!

- Amazing memoir5 star

From start to finish I was glued to this book. And that’s all I can say

- Gripping5 star

I was so thoroughly invested in Tara and her story. Could not put it down—read it in less than a week. I am still grappling with the events long after I’ve finished.

- Transformative5 star

This book is an emotional roller coaster that chronicles the journey of a young girl trying to find her place in two conflicting worlds: one that was created for her and one that she would build herself. I highly recommend this book especially to first generation college students. I’ve personally found myself at the cross-roads that Tara faced, and it was very empowering to read about her struggle. Very well written!

- Amazing4 star

Such a great read couldn’t put it down.

- A Must-Read Novel For People of All Ages5 star

I cannot begin to describe the journey this novel took me on. I was hooked from the beginning, transported into a world so foreign, yet so real. Westover writes with such truth, such raw emotion that is unmatched. Please take my word and read this life-changing novel. You won't regret it.

- No words5 star

Thank you for sharing your story, Tara.

- Engrossing5 star

I loved it, couldn’t put it down.

- Good but flaws3 star

It was a good book but I had one issue. Would she have gotten these opportunities if she wasn’t white? Would she have gone to Cambridge? I’ll leave that on the table.

- Good5 star

I really enjoyed this story. It was engaging and a good read. To see someone overcome adversity is a gift and a treasure.

- Owns. (Was5 star

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- Educated5 star

Great book. This is a heartfelt story. It is definitely a must read.

- Educated5 star

I don’t usually write reviews for anything but this book ... W O W. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to just about anyone. Written beautifully. I felt so many things reading this book, sadness, fear, intrigue, faith, happiness, the list goes on. I often had to remind myself that this is a real story, Tara Westover really lived this life. It is unbelievable & she did an unbelievable job in recounting it for all of us.

- Educated5 star

One of the best books I have ever read! Read it during a beach vacation in just 4 days.

- Incredible book5 star

One of the most gripping, eye-opening, and insightful memoirs I have read in a long time. Her book is full of compassion and understanding. The vulnerability one must face in order to share such personal details of one’s life is significant, and I am grateful that Tara was willing to share her enriching story.

- OMG How was this book a big hit?1 star

It’s just a memoir of a dysfunctional mormon family; that is, a boring mormon family, not the fun, polygamist kind. Told without humor or original insight. It’s also a tale of how pretty white girls have prizes and opportunities thrown at them. There’s an old SNL sketch starring Eddie Murphy called “White Like Me.” It really explains how this author ends up at Cambridge.

- Open minded greatness5 star

Very inspirational! Should be a must read in every high school or even middle. My favorite book I’ve ever read.

- Beautifully written!5 star

This is a must read, no political, religion or education agenda. I was captivated by Ms. Westover memoir, I read it in less than a week.

- My favorite5 star

Probably the best book I’ve read in years.

- A must read5 star

Heartbreaking and riveting! Bravo to this brave woman.

- Great Read!5 star

Enjoyed it and it builds as it goes. Starts out good and ends great. Inspiring.

- The best book of 2019!5 star

This book is hands down the best memoir I’ve ever read. I think all women can see parts of themselves in Taras story and her triumph over adversity. It’s a must read!

- Very touching!5 star


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- Wonderful insight into homeschool5 star

Loved the insight into a homeschool education, very interesting! And Westover has an incredibly interesting story.

- Eye opening5 star

There is such a disconnect between different communities in our great nation. There is only the stereotypes we hold onto. This book breaks some of this and makes you route for Tara. She beat the odds and we get to read about her arduous journey.

- Powerful5 star

A very powerful story. Had me hooked from start to finish. Some parts are painfully sad and borderline disturbing. This book really makes you think. Loved it.

- Amazing story5 star

This story is completely inspiring. Tara is so intelligent and the way she tells her story is beautiful. This book is a must read.

- Educated4 star

Remarkable. Raw. A journey of one’s soul.

- Wow5 star

It was like stepping into the authors past. Such a powerful story. 💯🙏🏽

- Educated5 star

A remarkable story. I will never forget.

- Educated4 star

Really enjoyed.

- You can’t put it down5 star

This book is fantastic! My mom was listening to it in the car and I started to listen and couldn’t stop. Tara Westover’s story is full with sadness, happiness, and excitement. A must for anyone

- AMAZING.5 star

I’ve always loved reading, but I’ve struggled to finish reading anything the last two or so years. This book? No problem, I couldn’t put it down! I’ll be recommending this book to anyone who can possibly listen.

- Incredible and frustrating story4 star

Very well written and brutal memoir about her Mormon upbringing and her ability to survive a constant quest for love from her parents. The abuse is horrible to read, you see her returning to the same gruesome scenes thinking they’ll be different when they could never be. It stunned me at the end in the acknowledgements her statement that the author states this book isn’t about Mormonism. Of course it absolutely is. All of this education and still she believes she can separate her family objectively. I came away depressed that she won’t find the love she is so much seeking because love can’t come from a tortured past. It must come from an accepted present w hope for a different future. It’s sad but I was left with the impression she is still very much still trapped.

- great read5 star

definitely recommend this book. i really enjoyed it. Tara is a remarkable young woman.

- Gripping.5 star

Stellar collection of memories - like you’re living her life right there in the room amidst it all. Couldn’t put the book down. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

- Loved this book!5 star

A must read.

- Educated5 star

This book was fabulous! I read it in 2 days. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The scenes were vividly described. All of the characters came to life and had sympathetic qualities. I felt as if I were there on that mountain in Idaho with them. I was cheering for Tara and hurting for her through the entire book. Highly recommended!

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- Just excellent5 star

What a story. And Dr. Westover’s writing is superb, and the story very compelling. One of the very books I’ve read in a long time.

- Educated by Tara Westover5 star

Wow!! The courage it took her to do what she did is mind boggling! Way to go Tara!!! You made the impossible odds and soared!!! I agree with your end result!!! Educated vs non educated made the entire difference!!

- Beautiful5 star

Everything worked in this book

- Powerful5 star

This book is very enlightening. I can see that Tara grows even though she suffers.

- Terrifying and amazing5 star

Memoirs are not usually the type of book that strikes my interest, however, the survivalist-Mormon backdrop was something I had only a vague idea of. After hearing a brief interview of Tara prompting the book I decided it was a must read & having just finished the book just hours ago... I’m so glad I did. I will say, if you have a history of trauma and may be sensitive to reading about someone else’s tread lightly. The story itself is still baffling to me- Tara’s journey from barely any education to being highly educated due to her own will, through all of her family struggles, is astounding.

- A Mirror into One Life5 star

It is not often a book allows you reconsider your own childhood. While I read this window into Ms. Westover’s life, I questioned my own memories and my own beliefs. When does a child quit being a child? When a child reaches a certain age or participates in some religious event? Is it that moment when a child stops accepting that their parents viewpoint is the only accurate version of events? Is it that moment when we all determine what our own beliefs are? Do we believe in God because we are told to believe or do we truly own our faith and belief as our own? Adulthood is a process for all of us and this book walks us through Ms. Westover’s process. The book was very well written and you can hear the internal struggle that she has gone and appears to still be going through. I do hope this book provided Ms. Westover with a semblance of healing. I pray that her faith in God and her own memory can be restored. It is an excellent book written with an open mind and acknowledgement that it is her viewpoint. She manages to show respect to her family by not degrading them, while acknowledging that it is not the accepted normal.

- Not a fan.2 star

I Purchase this book based on the reviews. But, I had a hard time getting through this book. It was ok, but not one that I will remember. I am not sure what all the wonderful reviews are about.

- If only5 star

I couldn’t put this book down, because some of it seemed so familiar to me. If only it could have been expressed as a work of fiction with a pseudonym as author. She could have possibly retained association with more of her family. But then the book may never have been seriously considered, nor become so critically acclaimed. I thank the author for her bravery and congratulate her for her achievements.

- Educated by Tara Westover5 star

This book was beyond riveting. Tara Westover grew up in a family most of us could not fathom, one in which her family who keeps their children out of school, sees modern medicine as evil, and didn’t even get her a birth certificate until about age 9. The backdrop of Buck’s Peak in rural Idaho serves to ground this family but separates Tara both physically and educationally from the modern world until against all odds, she grows wings, a painful process that pits her between the educated world and the one her bipolar father and submissive, herbalist mother have so carefully constructed for her. Tara’s strength and revealed weaknesses make you root for her. And her beautiful articulate writing and development of family members leaves you heartbroken, retrospective, and involved. She lets us into her world, her struggles, and her eventual education that serves to liberate her. I couldn’t put this book down and didn’t want to finish it so awed am I by Tara’s true life story.

- Educated2 star

Didn’t care for it, couldn’t feel any interest in any of the characters

- Outstanding Read!!!!!5 star

As someone who barely reads (I know it’s not good), this book took my breath away. Tara Westover’s story is incredibly unique, with twists and turns every page. I could hardly believe I was reading a factual memoir. If I could give this book 100 stars I would!! Definitely a must read.

- Educated4 star

This is a page turner because it’s so unbelievable. So unbelievable, in fact, that even after completion of the last chapter, I have to remind myself that it is nonfiction. Only 4 stars because, at times, the writer left me wondering what had happened to certain family member as she had not mentioned them for a long while. I.e., Richard. By chapter 16 I was asking myself, Where was HE when all this craziness was happening?

- Astounding and perhaps a little too creative3 star

I loved this book but began to have nagging doubts about it later. Perhaps truth mixed with fiction to keep it likely. Somehow the antagonists seem to rise from the dead miraculously. No real names and her interview on the news hour made her look like she was hiding something.

- Educated5 star

Thought provoking, heart wrenching, raw honesty that pushes the reader to feel the heavy weight of violence and family dysfunction- a testament to the power and strength of the human spirit!

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5 star

i want to be educated and disciplined but i should have my own system to achieve those goals

5 star

@rlphalfer_: Be educated with manners, not just educated.

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@ck2202ck @realDonaldTrump I’m one of those “whites”. Scandanavians. Generations of blonde hair. Blue eyes the nor…

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@rlphalfer_: Be educated with manners, not just educated.

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@happyhunny1 @MahyarTousi So you're happy with a small group of White privileged entitled privately educated men fr…

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@rlphalfer_: Be educated with manners, not just educated.

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@LyssJ_: After 87 years, my grandfather dipped his finger for the right choice. Seems simple, but he has been anti-PNM all his life. T…

5 star

@talentpharmNYC: @DrEricDing In the end, this was a bloomberg pro-airline piece written by an opinion columnist, based on an un-peer rev…

5 star

@SrkianFaizy: “I’m Educated I don’t Believe But It’s Happen with me in Ajmer” :- @iamsrk

5 star

@BettyMankiller it's always the highly educated people with the stupidest takes

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@Ayigbe_Nani: Be educated with manners, not just educated.👍🤔🤗

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@rlphalfer_: Be educated with manners, not just educated.

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@Ayigbe_Nani: Be educated with manners, not just educated.👍🤔🤗

5 star

@GavinNapierTCH @peter_pkh13 @imjdsharp @RossDellenger @theejamieson @ByPatForde So screw the future of America. Le…

5 star

@V_actually: Here's a free thinking, well educated man too smart to be swayed by Democrat's lies.

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