Monday, July 23, 2018

Books: Educated

I just finished the memoir by Tara Westover, Educated. I read it compulsively over the past couple of days. It has been on the best seller list for many weeks and I've been curious about it. I finally got a chance to read it when I borrowed a Nook from the library that had many recent titles loaded in it. Educated is Tara's story, she is born to a survivalist mormon family in the mountains of Idaho. Her father is a bipolar who despises government institutions, including schools, and believes that the end of times is near, stockpiling food, fuel, guns and ammunition. Her childhood is far outside the normal experience. She doesn't go to school, and is supposedly home-schooled, but because she's one of the later children in the family her mother is tired of teaching, and she's pretty much left to her own devices as far as learning is concerned. In later years she suffers terrible violence inflicted by an older brother. This abuse, and recovery from it, is a major theme of the book, and eventually leads to her being cast out of the family.  Despite all odds, she goes on to college, and does so well that she earns a scholarship to go to Cambridge, England, where she gets a PhD.

The book is very well written, and a quick read. It is fascinating to read about people that we know exist, people who live outside the norms of the society, with children born at home, with no medical assistance, no vaccinations, no birth certificates, who hate anything government related. Socialist and feminist are curse words for them. These people don't have driver's licenses, car insurance, never take any medications, etc. Especially for someone like me, a feminist socialist,  living in the East Coast liberal bubble, it's mind boggling that people like that still exist in modern day America.

Tara's life makes for a good story and in her capable hands, it becomes a very thought provoking, and deeply affecting book. You appreciate your life and family so much more after reading this book, and maybe even understand America just a little bit better, which is why I would recommend reading it.