Let’s chat about books: Educated

Realizing a lot of my book reviews here are fiction, I wanted to challenge myself and do a non-fiction read for all the memoir lovers out there. So this week I’m writing about Educated.

Educated is a memoir about the unique life of Tara Westover. Westover’s family were Mormons from Clifton, Idaho who were also paranoid survivalists. They believed the world was going to end when the year turned to 2000, that the government was trying to get them at any chance they could, and other extreme beliefs such as that.

Growing up with this and having these beliefs drilled into her as though they were her own, Westover didn’t see the world the way we do. So when she decides to go to college, seemingly out of nowhere for her family, Westover has a bit of a culture shock. Her thoughts get consumed with the casual sins she see others partake in, such as shirt skirts, and cringes in fear.

A big transition for anyone is made double that with her unique upbringing. There’s a section in the book when a boy she was hanging out with offered her some ibuprofen for her headache and she was almost frightened to the core to take it because her mother usually gives her herbs and roots to treat such ailments.

This memoir was a major perspective change. The luxuries I have or conceive as normal some think of as frightening and maybe even sinful. Not to mention the whole family dynamic Westover paints in her books baffles me. These people almost sound too over the top, but her parents and siblings do indeed exist. Her siblings can vouch for her story. At least the ones willing to talk to her.

There isn’t as much to pick apart with this book as it is a memoir, but the writing is very well done. It almost felt as though I was in the room with her at times that was how descriptive Westover was.

There’s also bravery in this book. I know she ends the book saying her and her family have a strained relationship, and I imagine only more so after she released the book. There were sections of her story that were very personal and for sure going to start a fire among the family members, such as describing the abuse experienced at the hands of one of her brothers. But Westover knew it was a perspective she had to share.

Her book, although a memoir, also had a message of the importance of education. Rather than just believing what people tell you, getting your own research is highly recommended. The more educated you can be, the more different the world seems, and the more you can get out of life. I enjoyed the book as I learned that as terrible as certain things in my life are, at least I will never know these extremes. But I still feel queasy at mention of some of the things that happen in the book, only because it forced me to realize there are some extremely hateful and paranoid people in the world.

Overall I give it a ⅘. Although I liked it, I typically don’t enjoy non-fiction as much. Though this is the one I liked best, so it wasn’t brought to a 3. I recommend if you haven’t read it and want a chance to see just how extreme some people are in their beleifs.

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