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Educated by Tara Westover

“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 stronger than theirs.”

Tara Westover, Educated

I kept hearing about Educated - “You gotta read Educated”, “Have you heard of the book Educated” and then finally, on my Mom’s wishlist, she wrote “Educated” I bought it for her. When visiting her house the other day, I stumbled across it on her shelf and decided to give it a go. I sometimes like to barrel into a book with little-to-no knowledge of it, besides the recommendation from someone that “It’s good, you should read it”...

I had no idea as I cracked open the first page that Educated was a Memoir, that the author, Tara Westover, was a scholar or what the plot was about. As soon as I began reading, I was captivated. Tara’s depictions and recollections of her upbringing were so utterly fascinating I kept turning page, after page. The memoir discusses Tara’s life as the daughter of a survivalist Mormon family, where they live completely off-grid and are self-reliant for medical care, education and financial welfare. Although I’m sure most readers, myself included, won’t have the exact same life experiences and obstacles Tara has had; the essence of self-perseverance, overcoming the fear of disapproval and her perceived shame around sexuality will likely ring true to many readers.

I found myself getting lost in her story-telling abilities. Some so vivid, I would cringe or close my eyes in anticipation of what would happen next. As a writer, to be capable of creating a visceral response through your words quite frankly is what draws me to reading literature. If that is not something you enjoy or crave in a book, then this memoir might not be your cup of tea, as it is emotionally and graphically explicit.

Educated is a quick read that weaves through the personal-growth and discovery of the world Tara had never imagined existed. The memoir explores the importance of perspective and how drastically our perception and ideas can be so greatly affected by the knowledge, or lack thereof, we are exposed to. Tara is torn between maintaining her dutiful, daughter obligations and her undeniable desires to carve out her own path away from the life she once knew.

A book that has multiple themes, depends on the assumption that the reader’s own experiences will push one or two themes to the forefront and allow the reader to connect on some level. For me, at this moment in my life, I found Tara’s ability to overcome fear of disappointment in order to chase her passions so motivational and comforting. At certain points in our lives there are moments where we have to decide to follow our own path or to allow others to push us down the path they chose for us.

Read Educated and let me know what you found to be most relatable in your own life! I would love to hear from you.

- B

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