The Hype is REAL: Education is Every Bit as Fantastic as You'd Expect | Review: Educated by Tara Westover

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If you've been, like me, procrastinating reading Educated: STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING. Pick up this brilliant work of non-fiction. Thank me later.

by Tara Westover

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.

Educated by Tara Westover 
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5)

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.    

Educated has been on my TBR for what feels like ages. Okay, fine. Realistically it has on been on my TBR since 2018. But, to be fair, a lot has happened since 2018. And, honestly, it feels like 2020 has been at least fifteen years crammed into six months. Fortunately* for me, quarantine left me with A LOT of free time on my hands, and Educated was one of the first longtime TBR featured reads I completed. 

*There is nothing fortunate about a global pandemic. 

Reviewing a non-fiction book is always difficult. No, that doesn't really cover it. Let's try: reviewing a non-fiction book that is as potent and thought-provoking and wildly wonderful as Educated is pretty much impossible. Especially when you consider how much good other reviewers have already stated. Because, let's face it, everything you need to know about Educated can be summed up in very few words: this is must-read material.

Tara Westover compelled me within seconds of picking up Educated. Her writing is stunning. There were times when I wanted to look away, because she can easily take a reader's breath away with so few lines. Not only is her prose beautiful, intelligent, and wholly captivating, her story is. To make a memoir successful, for me, is to accomplish one thing: write your life so intimately, it feels like I've taken you for drinks and had an in-depth, stay-up-until-six-am, conversation with you.

Which is, frankly, one of the only things that I can say about Educated. It's true that Westover has left her mark on the literary world with her impactful, thought-provoking, real-life story. This is an experience reader's will never forget. No matter your age, no matter your interest in non-fiction, Educated is a must-read.

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