Educated: A Memoir

I listened to this book as an audiobook because I wanted to make better use of my time. Listening to podcasts sparked interest as well to give audiobooks a try. I was working at my dad’s place, which doesn’t require a lot of thinking. So this was a great moment to choose an audiobook on Audible. 

Educated: A Memoir is written by Tara Westover. The book has been reviewed and recommended by Bill Gates and Barack Obama. This fact alone made me immensely curious. The audiobook is read by Julia Whelan. I didn’t like the voice at the start, but as I went further the voice became familiar, likable and recognizable.

Massive props to her for telling the story credibly because the story is one of a kind and has a special emotional feel to it.

The summary written by the publisher

“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 in her father’s junkyard. 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 one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.” 


My thoughts

This is one of these stories that one can’t imagine happening in real life. Tara was being manipulated for years by her family and violent brother Sean. She was abused by Sean multiple times and her parents would not believe her. So she thought she was wrong and her parents right. Meanwhile, she was being grappled to the point where she heard her bones crackle. Her father constantly said that there was no evidence so the abuses had not happened. She started to believe them instead of herself. She began having thoughts like: “Maybe the abusing wasn’t that bad, or was it?”. Eventually, everyone turned against her except her brother Tyler. Tyler encouraged her to study and so her study journey started with lots of ups and downs. One time in class she asked what the holocaust was because she was homeschooled and the question generated a lot of mean faces. Everyone thought she must have been joking because obviously everyone should know about the holocaust by then.

The book has 352 and the audiobook is approximately 12 hours. Sometimes during the book I had a feeling like: “Now the mistreatments must be over, she won’t get back to her family and she will continue with her study”. But the second half of the book is filled with recurring events like returning to her home, being abused by her brother, try to convince her parents that he is violent, failing to get their trust, and almost quitting school to help her parents. At times it was even hard to listen to her falling in the same traps over and over again. 

That being said, I liked the book very much. The book is unique and reminds one should be grateful for what one has. The story is inspiring for everyone, especially ones that can recognize themselves in Tara. This might not be a fun read while laying on the beach with a cocktail in your hand, so you decide when to read it.

Thanks for reading my post. 


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