Goodreads rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐️
Tara Westover grew up on a mountain in Idaho and that was all of the world that she knew. Educated is an amazing recount of her life on the mountain. Tara was born at home and did not have a birth certificate or any real education. Her father was paranoid about the end of the world so most of her days were spent preparing for the end times. Tara did not step foot into a classroom until she was 17 years old. Educated is her own personal account of her life from her childhood leading up to now as an educated woman with a PhD.
The novel is full of stories that help to paint the picture of the life Tara had. Some of the stories are good and wholesome but a lot end with injuries, pain, or threats on her life from one of her brothers. As you read through the book you will notice asterisks at some instances. As she wrote the book she would have to ask her siblings about some of the stories she was recounting and everyone seemed to remember them playing out a little differently or different people being there. She retells the novel through her own eyes but some scenarios might have actually not happened exactly as she remembered.
Throughout the book the author is able to give the reader a clear idea of who each person is in her family and their characteristics. Her father was abnormal in the beginning and says things like Tara’s grandmother “was an unknowing agent of the Illuminati” (46). But as the story progresses his ideas grow even more wild and Tara finds that she has less in common with her family. Tara is able to demonstrate the struggle of trying to leave her old life and the pull that her father’s control has over her to try to bring her back in. The novel will have you feeling your heart wrenched at times then full at others as you relive Tara’s unusual life.
Without retelling you the entire story I will end my review here. I have so many questions for Tara about her life now and things that I wish that she could expand on. But I can imagine that she would like to keep some things to herself.