Educated: Book Review

Educated, by Tara Westover is a memoir based on her past, growing up in a strict Mormon family isolated from the rest of the world. The family consists of Gene Westover, the father. The mother Faye Westover and Tara’s four siblings; Shawn, Tyler, Audrey, and Richard. The family lived in rural Idaho, where the kids worked on the farm or helped Gene salvage scrap metal. None of the kids know their actual birth day, due to their strict religious beliefs the parents believed in home births only, and thought doctors were of the devils work. Therefore the government had no proof of these children even existing. The father suffered with multiple illnesses which helped provoke his fears of the government and doctors, and in order to protect his kids he did not allow them to attend school. They only allowed them to attend the Mormon church.

In the beginning we see Tara who is a young naïve girl, who obviously believes every bad thing her father is telling her about not only the government but about anyone who is not of the Mormon faith. She believes that the government is out to kill her and her whole family due to their religion. She believed that the day of judgment was going to occur Dec. 31, 2000 at 12:00, and she believed that the devil had created medicine. When Tara turned nine her second oldest brother Tyler announced he was leaving for college, which caused tension in his family.

As she reaches her teenage years we see she gets into singing and musical theater as well as getting more into her faith, and at this point is totally brainwashed. Both her father and oldest brother Shawn become not only emotionally but physically abusive as well. Due to this abuse, Tara worried nonstop about being sinful and tempting men. When Tyler came back home and witnessed Shawn’s abuse towards Tara, he talked her into going to college.

She worked extremely hard and was accepted into BYU. In Jan. of 2004, Tara moved to Utah for college, which was a major adjustment for her. Once at BYU Tara confided to the Bishop at BYU who took care of all of her college expenses. Tara then got the opportunity to study abroad at Cambridge University in England. While in England, Tara kept in contact with her family and regularly visited her family, but her relationship with her family slowly began to deteriorate. She eventually moved to England to obtain her masters degree, and in doing so Tara became ostracized from her family.

In the end of the memoir, Tara accepted that she no longer has a family, except for Tyler, but she was extremely proud of who she became regardless of where she started. In no way, shape, or form was this book to bash on the Mormon faith. It was solely written so she could tell her story, and her experience growing up.


The Book Educated by Tara Westover
The Book Educated by Tara Westover

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars



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