Educated by Tara Westover | SLJ Review

Raised in an alternative Mormon home in rural Idaho, Westover worked as an assistant midwife to her mother and labored in her father’s junkyard.
redstarWestover, Tara. Educated: A Memoir. 352p. Random. Feb. 2018. Tr $28. ISBN 9780399590504.

Raised in an alternative Mormon home in rural Idaho, Westover worked as an assistant midwife to her mother and labored in her father’s junkyard. Formal schooling wasn’t a priority, because her parents believed that public education was government indoctrination and that Westover’s future role would be to support her husband. But her older brother’s violence and their family’s refusal to acknowledge problems at home resulted in the teen contemplating escape through education. Admittance to Brigham Young University was difficult. Westover taught herself enough to receive a decent score on the ACT, but because of her upbringing, she didn’t understand rudimentary concepts of sanitation and etiquette, and her learning curve was steep. However, she eventually thrived, earning scholarships to Harvard and Cambridge—though she grappled with whether to include her toxic family in her new life. Born in 1986, Westover interviewed family members to help her write the first half. Her well-crafted account of her early years will intrigue teens, but the memoir’s second part, covering her undergraduate and graduate experiences in the “real world,” will stun them. VERDICT A gripping, intimate, sometimes shocking, yet ultimately inspiring work. Perfect for fans of memoirs about overcoming traumatic childhoods or escaping from fundamentalist religious communities, such as Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Ruth Wariner’s The Sound of Gravel.–Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2018 issue.

Comments

Colby Sharp

I love this book so hard.

Posted : May 29, 2018 04:46


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