Your audiobook is waiting…

Educated

A Memoir
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
5 out of 5 stars (61,474 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe best seller

Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

One of President Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of the Year

Bill Gates’s Holiday Reading List

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Award in Autobiography

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Best First Book

Finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award 

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: The Washington Post O: The Oprah Magazine Time • NPR • Good Morning America San Francisco Chronicle The Guardian The Economist Financial Times Newsday New York Post theSkimm Refinery29 Bloomberg Self Real Simple Town & Country Bustle Paste Publishers Weekly Library Journal LibraryReads BookRiot • 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 17 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)

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

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

“Beautiful and propulsive... [Tara Westover’s] voice is so sui generis it feels in debt to no one.... And despite the singularity of her 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

“An amazing story, and truly inspiring. The kind of book everyone will enjoy. It’s even better than you’ve heard.” (Bill Gates)

“Heart-wrenching... a beautiful testament to the power of education to open eyes and change lives.” (Amy Chua, The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50,787
  • 4 Stars
    8,272
  • 3 Stars
    1,770
  • 2 Stars
    400
  • 1 Stars
    245

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    46,190
  • 4 Stars
    7,507
  • 3 Stars
    1,395
  • 2 Stars
    258
  • 1 Stars
    136

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    45,578
  • 4 Stars
    7,293
  • 3 Stars
    1,694
  • 2 Stars
    443
  • 1 Stars
    259
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 03-28-18

The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

"Not knowing for certain, but refusing to give way to those who claim certainty, was a privilege I had never allowed myself. My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs."
- Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir

This book feels like it was written by a sister, a cousin, a niece. Tara Westover grew up a few mountains over from my dad's Heglar ranch. I don't know her. Don't know her family. She grew up about 70-80+ miles South East as the crow flies, but realistically, it was a 1.5 hours drive difference, and a whole planet of Mormonism over.

I didn't grow up in Idaho. I was born there and returned there yearly. But this book is filled with the geography, culture, behaviors, mountains, religion, schools, and extremes I understand. She is writing from a similar, and often shared space. I didn't just read this book, I felt it, on every page.

This book reads like a modern-day, Horatio Alger + 'The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography'. However, it isn't just a book about how a girl with little formal education from a small town in Idaho makes it to Cambridge. It is also a tale of escape, and a historiography. Westover is using her own life to do a popular memory study on herself. She is looking at how she viewed her religion, her background, her parents, and her education. She explores how those memories and narratives change and reorient based upon proximity to her family and her father.

I bought a copy and before I even read it, I gave it to my father to read (He grew up in Heglar, ID). Then I bought another couple and yesterday and today my wife and I raced to finish it. We bored our kids talking about it over two dinners. We both finished it within minutes of each other tonight.

Tara Westover's memoir hit me hard because of the struggle she has owning her own narrative. Through many vectors I related to her (we both graduated from BYU with Honors, were both were from Idaho, both have preppers in the family). My family, while sharing similar land, a similar start, and a similar undergraduate education, however, are not Tara's. And that is what made this memoir so compelling. It was like reading a Dickens novel, but one that was set in your neighborhood. It was moving, sad, and tremendous. In the end, I was attracted by how close the story felt, but I was also VERY grateful her story wasn't THAT close.

533 of 572 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Disturbing

There are parts of this book that will haunt me: Animal cruelty, physical and mental abuse. However, the problems are all too prevalent. I weep and pray for the characters. I need a pick-me-up after this one.

298 of 321 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katie
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • 05-28-18

Extreme patriarchy, brainwashing, and violence

This is not really a book about homeschooling or mormons. It's about growing up and out of an extremely patriarchal, violent, and dysfunctional family. It's about the slow process and journey that one takes when leaving an abusive relationship, questioning yourself every step of the way but slowly finding independence. Tara was luckily able to gain her independence through her extensive college education.
This is a really difficult book and may be triggering for some. I felt a number of strong and unpleasant emotions (anger, fear, sadness) while listening to this, but I couldn't put it down. Horrific as it is, I'm really glad that Tara Westover had the courage to publish this. The book kind of has an open ending, you know that the family dysfunction and drama is still continuing, and you wonder how much distance Tara Westover will be able to keep from her family over time, if she will continue to return, yearning for the acceptance of her parents.

The narrator was a perfect match.

153 of 165 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't stop listening!

I finished this book in two days flat. Tara's writing transports you into the story completely. Her vulnerability and downright astonishing history of her life is unforgettable. I recommend this book for anyone struggling in relationships dominated with control and abuse. Her bravery is catching.

92 of 103 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional

This book is incredible. Tara's resilience is inspiring. Her honesty, grace, and perseverance through trials that would have broken most people left me in awe. I could not stop listening to this book and found every opportunity to turn on audible to keep hearing her story.

97 of 109 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Gripping Read


There is no doubting that Tara Westover's survival and achievement is nothing short of an amazing feat and she is to be applauded for her strength and determination. You don't have to read between the lines to know very early in this book that this young girl (the author) is being neglected and abused on many levels, in the home of seemingly well-intentioned, loving parents. It creeps in and feels as blatantly incongruent and ugly as a blot on a peaceful bucolic scene. All the more insidious as a wide range of mental disorders throughout the family become obvious and are dismissed and justified -- denial.

I've had to sit back and reflect on this book and the author, as well as allow myself to read the reviews of other readers in order to be objective with Educated. True, it is a story of a miraculous survival and achievement by the author. It is also a sad account, to add to hundreds of accounts we've had to hear, about the destructive effects of abuse and mental illness. I've mentioned before in my reviews I worked with patients that sadly have had very similar stories and they are all heartbreaking so it is nice to read that Ms. Westover is on top of her ordeal. Healing and recovery is a challenging process and I felt Westover, at times, compartmentalized her experiences, speaking from the authority of her academic status.

Her voice in this narrative seems to waiver a bit between assuredness and doubt, which is natural for a recovering person. I could not help wondering -- which is why I waited to read other's reviews to see if I was being too clinical -- if this story was premature in that it felt like the road still reaches out far in front of her journey. It is my hope that in telling her story, feeling the support of readers that themselves gain strength from her fight and acknowledge her accomplishment, Ms. Westover can continue her fight with courage and grace.

*In spite of its capacity to foster compassion, humanness, and understanding, throughout the ages religion has at times been a source of abuse, persecution, terrorism, and genocide. These problems continue today across the world, as illustrated by religiously-based terrorism, clergy sexual abuse, and religiously-supported genocide.* Ms. Westover makes the distinction that her family is Fundamentalist Mormons, which are sects that have separated themselves from the LDS Church. This is a very interesting time in the world culture, and I suspect that by giving voice to abuse on so many different levels, Ms. Westover has added her voice to a brave force that is demanding long needed positive change in all areas where there has been abuse.

.



.

167 of 194 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well-written but emotionally manipulative

I struggled to rate this book. A fascinating read; compelling, horrifying, strangely relatable, and well written. When I finished I was emotionally charged and had a lot of thoughts about it but I also had a strange feeling that I couldn’t quite define. Over time as I’ve replayed the book in my mind and tried to sort out this unease I’ve recognized the feeling of possible manipulation? The inevitable holes of memory are understandable in a memoir which seems to be a common criticism of the book but my issue lies more in the overall voice of the story being a little too excused, empty of fault or culpability about anything. The last thing I want to do is victim shame but in every scenario she is ALWAYS the victim, she’s always the wide-eyed innocent and real life just doesn’t always play out that way, especially when someone has been abused. I don’t know her or her family or even Idaho but intuitively I get the feeling that this highly intelligent, well-educated woman is writing a very real story but in a very specific way. I don’t doubt many of the facts of the story but they do seem to be presented in a way to lead readers to conclusions that feel like their own but have actually been masterfully engineered in how they were presented. She has put her family in an unflattering spotlight that only she controls. Is this a revenge book? I’m not sure but I do feel sure that there is more depth and color to this dreamy-eyed, emotionally frail girl than is described in the book.

166 of 194 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I just finished listening to Educated. Parts of the book left my crying. I grew up in the same high-demand religion. While my family was not as fundamentalist, isolated or controlling, the similarities were there. As a gay man, I didn’t fit in and had to make my break from the culture and set up appropriate boundaries with family. I also had to develop my family and friends of choice.

Any additional comments?

Tara tells the story of fundamentalism, patriarchy and an apocalyptic view of the world intertwined with bi-polar mental illness. The story is inspiring but shows how hard it is to separate yourself from the world view of your childhood and family. She overcame some very limiting views of how the world works.

79 of 92 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Memoir about a woman w/ crazy parents who gets...

...educated!

I was halfway through this when I heard Westover on NPR and was rather surprised at how she...justified...her father's behavior. She doesn't really do that in the book that much. Yes, she speculates that he's bi-polar, but in the book when she describes the many times he puts his kids in situations that can get them killed (yes, really), and they all end up injured--some quite badly--she just lays it out there without much reflection, internal thoughts, etc. As a result, the reader comes to his/her own conclusion. And I'm guessing that many people's conclusion is that the man is bat shi* crazy.

I had this on my wish list for so long that I didn't re-read the synopsis so I wasn't quite expecting a memoir that essentially boils down to: Woman raised as a survivalist and fundamentalist Mormon, works like a dog from the time she's a little kid, doesn't go to school and gets no education at all, has 2 crazy parents who believe all medicine and doctors are evil among other beliefs that seem utterly insane, who has an abusive brother, yet somehow finds it within herself to get herself into to college (BYU) at age 16.

I guess one can read this as an amazing success story (and it is) but it's a litany of struggle (no surprise there). Once she goes to college, good things do happen to her, but her self-esteem is so low, that she can't even be the tiniest bit happy.

The strangest thing was all the people who bent over backwards to help her. She mostly refused their help and I found myself getting annoyed. Yes, yes, she explains why she refuses, but still. I don't know anyone who has ever been offered THAT much help--or anyone that unwilling to take it.

Fifteen years ago, I probably would have rated this 4 or 5 stars. So my 3-star rating is more of a reflection of not wanting to read such bleak stuff. Yes, things sort of turn out in the end (she definitely gets very educated), but how does one really overcome a childhood like that? The parents don't change, the abusive brother doesn't change. The three who do change are the three who got out, and one of those three is her.

Really, the most amazing thing is that she goes from a level of ignorance I can't even fathom (she didn't know about the civil rights movement or the holocaust, doesn't know the most basic things--like washing your hands after using the bathroom) to someone exceedingly educated in a ten-year span.

170 of 199 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What an education!

This is my first full review. I laughed, I cried real tears, and I got very angry.

Tara: if you read this know that I am rooting for you! No child should ever go through what you have endured! I am so proud of you for learning it is not your fault.

For the reader: I have just sent the last hours captivated by this story. I’ve read a number of books about ex Mormons - mostly people who escaped polygamists. As a recovering catholic I rebel against any and all religions that force people to leave their families because their beliefs are incompatible. But this is more than Mormonism, it is about an extreme uneducated bipolar man, his violent bipolar son, a submissive mother and an intelligent woman’s recovery.

It is quite shocking to discover how people live and the courage it takes to escape. I found it interesting that the three who escaped have PhDs and the four who remain don’t even have. GED. Thinking broadly, in every country, and all societies, the importance of a good education remains the key to independence.

93 of 109 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Angela
  • 06-12-19

Raw and not for the faint hearted.

A difficult listen. The mental, physical and verbal abuse was obscene and many times I needed to switch it off for a break. The narration captured it perfectly with no drama. An excellent listen, but only once for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DR Jack Stolero
  • 05-11-19

Excellent book with an excellent narrator

Educated had been praised by so many great minds, that I find it ridiculous to try and add anything.
What I can add is that the narrator of this audio book is doing a great job. Changing her voice gently to better reflect the different people appearing in this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-08-19

Authentic and gripping

It is incredible that Tata Westover has managed to write her harrowing and gripping story with such compassion. stunning writing, so graphic and emotional that at times I was there with her.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JACQUI
  • 03-14-19

unbelievable

violence... family...phsyciatric disease... non conforming... survival... love.. loyalty.. education. values... intelligence.. emotional intelligence... roots... identity.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • HayleyHead
  • 10-19-18

Hearbreaking, Inspiring and Courageous

So so interesting, heart breaking, inspiring and courageous. A must 'read' for all genre lovers