Educated - Tara Westover


By Tara Westover

  • Release Date: 2018-02-20
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 805 Ratings


#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 Statty25
    I found this story compelling and I did no want to stop reading. I think the one realization the author does not articulate is that on the whole she loves her family but her disconnect is a desire for to avoid both future physical and emotional. Being free from the cloud of expected pain, is a way to her to have the self she has recognized.
  • Astonishing, triumph and perseverance

    By kmoore.hickory
    Amazing journey to triumph and escape from a most oppressive, zealot, survivalist family which turns abusive, both physically and mentally, through education and enlightenment. Well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hard to put down.
  • Educated

    By neddutchy
    A great read, about how to deal and live with a very difficult father who is disapproving of almost everything, especially the government and getting an education. This book came under the rubric A memoir. It stayed in my head for a long time
  • Educated

    By NanC0915
    I loved this book! It was very interesting. As an educator myself I was amazed as how far Tara went with her education level since she began at age 17. Tara has resilience and a lot of perseverance having gone through what she did.
  • Educated

    By Cole090919
    I decided to read this book because I was looking for something inspirational about overcoming adversity. I have been a teacher for 11 years. I teach kindergarten. I had a particularly hard year this past school year because I had a number of students with CPS cases. This book was exactly what I needed to read to inspire me to continue to teach my students to believe in what they dream to be and not what they are raised to be. Thank you so much for this beautiful, inspiring story.
  • The best book I’ve read this year

    By Emvs17
    Well written and captivating
  • Educated

    By KentKirkland
    An amazing journey through early life of an extremely strong and talented woman.
  • Good

    By Maddy5990
    It’s a great read. Tara’s search for the truth between the ideologies she learned as a child and seeking a different perspective through education is amazing. At one point, I was afraid that she was going to give up everything and conform to her father’s way of life. No offense to Mormonism.
  • Educated

    By heathersm74
    I loved this book!
  • Terrifying, truthful and tortured.

    By tntcello
    In the frantically short time it took to read Tara Westover's "Educated" (I couldn't put it down), I lived the 27 years she narrates with such Beaty and pathos. I was as ignorant of the lifestyle she was born into as she was of the world around her and felt myself growing along with her. This book made me want to scream at her to love herself and reminded me to heed that advice myself. Brava brave Tara.