Educated

A Memoir
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (342 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

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 17 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. 

Her father forbade hospitals, 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 one of Tara's older brothers became violent. 

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important 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. 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 with severing the closest of 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. 

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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

Slow start but great overall

I found it difficult to get into this book at first and if it wasn’t my only entertainment on a four hour plan ride, I’m not sure I would have stuck with it, but I’m so glad I did. It’s an unbelievable extreme example of what happens when we live in cloistered echo chambers and what the result can be when we get out from it - very apt for this time and place. For those comparing it to the Glass Castle, I totally agree, although Educated lacks some of the charm of that book, not because the Glass Castle is a better book but because father in Castle is simply mare charming.

I will say, if you have any experience with physical or emotional abuse, this book can be triggering but also provides some good tools to ultimately manage that trauma (through counselling).

Regarding the performance, I didn’t love when the narrator changed voices for the brother Sean and the father. It was more caricature than character to me.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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a must read

loved this book. it is a must read memoir! the performance ia gripping and the story keeps you wanting more.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Full of admiration for the author

Really really good. Gives an insight into a life that is so different from my own - but with so many similarities. I wish the author all the best in her future life, and I think she is one of the strongest people I have ever "met" through literature. Recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and difficult to put down.

I couldn't put this book down. Fascinating story that makes you think.
Reader tells the story very well.
The youngest girl in a family tells of growing up in a survivalist family. She doesnt go to school like the others in her family. She tells the story of growing up. Sad in places, but inspiring too.

1 person found this helpful

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Enlightening

I finished this book in a week. i couldn't stop listening. this story, memoir is so powerful. it's truly amazing to hear where Tara came from and what she overcame to become who she is. excellent book.

1 person found this helpful

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I have no words.

An incredible and unbelievable story. The best book I’ve read/listened to this year. A must read!

1 person found this helpful

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sobbing

It's a pity that parents don't have to pass the certificate exams.
May we all survive our relationships - family, friends and the one we love.

1 person found this helpful

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Unrelenting, Utterly Hynoptic

A good friend whose taste I trust implicitly recommended this book wholeheartedly. She said the writer was Mormon but did not mention that she was raised as a survivalist, with a use and gas-lighting as part of her entire life. The book is harrowing, painful and yet I could not turn away. It felt so deeply personal and affected me in how I look at so many of my own relationships,albeit my life has little in common with hers. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazingly powerful

I'm glad that I didn't listen to some of the summaries I'd read and chose this book because it's really quite powerful. It's the memoir of a woman who grew up in a small-f fundamentalist Mormon family (NOT the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) who were also skeptics, isolationists, and survivalists. She not only never went to school, her birth (like that of some of her siblings) was never registered with any governmental agency. She got minimal home schooling for a short while, lived with emotional and physical abuse in the home, and spend most of her childhood risking injury working in the junkyard with her father and brothers. With the inspiration and help of a rare few friends and family, she learned enough to get into BYU, and later got her masters and PhD in England.

But that wasn't her real education -- she learned to see the world around her through her own eyes, not that of her father or the church, and to use reason and reflection to build her self confidence away from her very unique and sheltered family life:

“Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create."

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    4 out of 5 stars

Horrifying tale

Well written, slightly dry, but a good listen. The narrator does a great job. Horrifying look into the dangers of ignorance and how people still live in certain parts of the US. Unreal in this day, but mental illness certainly plays a part. Worth one listen but not a book I would reread over again. Too horrible, frustrating and sad at times.