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Cross Plains Public Library (TX)

"Educated" by Tara Westover

Our book club read this memoir by the author and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the telling of Tara’s upbringing.  This story takes place from 1986 until 2014 which surprised all of us that such a lifestyle would be led in a more current era.

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara prepared for the end of the world by storing up canned peaches, stewing herbs, and salvaging metal. Her father did not believe in doctors and so the family suffered through cuts, bruises, concussions, broken bones, and burns from explosions with the herbs her mother grew used as treatments.

Tara was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was isolated from mainstream society and there was no one to ensure the children received an education. When a brother got into college and spoke about news beyond the mountain, Tara yearned for a big change.  She taught herself math, grammar, and science and after passing the ACT she was admitted to Brigham Young University. Her insatiable search for knowledge transformed her, taking her to Harvard and to Cambridge University.

During her pursuit of an education, Tara’s family refuses to support her, but instead want her to return to the mountain and work in the family business.  Tara chooses her education over her family… can she ever go back home?  This was an eye-opening account of a lifestyle that I didn’t know existed in 1986. Tara’s honesty in sharing her battle against her family for self-intervention was refreshing. I give it 5 stars. This novel is available in hardcover at the library.

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