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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Educated: A Memoir

Educated by Tara Westover

ISBN: 0399590501

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2/20/2018

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Top Books of 2018 Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction (Adult) An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University One of The New York Times Book Review’s “must-know literary events” and Entertainment Weekly’s “most anticipated books of 2018." “If you liked Wild, try Educated . . . a dazzling example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to something . . . Tara’s story is an inspirational, truly unique coming-of-age tale.”—BBC

“Tara’s story will find a place alongside modern classic memoirs like Wild and The Glass Castle. It’s that special.”—Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire

Tara Westover was seventeen 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 metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, 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 an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal 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 University. 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 from severing ties with those closest to you. 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.


Advance Praise


Picked as . . .

BBC News Online's Books to Look Ahead in 2018 Mail on Sunday's Best of 2018 Cultural Highlights Stylist's One to Watch in 2018 Daily Express's Must-Have New Reads The Pool's Books We're Looking Forward to in 2018 S Magazine's Best Upcoming Books of 2018 Vogue's What to Read This Fall

Must-Know Literary Events in 2018

"Westover’s memoir, 'Educated,' recounts a childhood spent in an isolationist family and her path to Harvard and Cambridge." —New York Times

Books Look Ahead 2018 "This memoir is a dazzling example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to something . . . an inspirational, truly unique coming-of-age tale." —BCC

20 Must-Read Books to Make Room for in 2018 "This extraordinary memoir . . . tells the story of how Westover’s determination to access knowledge changed her life. It’s a powerful, jaw dropper of a book." —Stylist

The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2018 "Bound to draw comparisons toThe Glass Castle, this memoir centers on a young girl who was kept out of school and went on to leave her survivalist family to get her PhD. "—Entertainment

12 Authors You Need to Be Watching in 2018 "She’s already being compared to Jeanette Walls (whose much-loved memoir, The Glass Castle, was adapted to film last year) and her debut memoir hasn’t even landed on bookstore shelves yet. If you love memoirs, be sure to keep an eye on writer Tara Westover whose debut, Educated, shares a survival journey that readers are definitely going to be buzzing about this year."—Bustle

Books We're Looking Forward to in 2018 "This fiercely intelligent memoir is a fascinating and compassionate view of another world and the author’s struggle to both escape from and understand it as she heads out into the world to become educated."— The Pool

Our Pick: Best of 2018 Cultural Highlights "An astonishing and uplifting story about the transformative power of education."—The Mail

Must-Have New Reads "Westover's jaw-dropping memoir." —Daily Express

The Best of 2018 "This memoir about her struggle for self-invention is beautifully written and will appeal to fans of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild." —Red

Discover pick for Spring 2018

One of 50 books chosen each year for the Discover New Great Writers program — B&N

What to Read This Fall, According to Vogue Editors "I also got my paws on advance copies of two outstanding memoirs, forthcoming this spring: Tara Westover’s Educated (February 20) and Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering (April 3)—both of which I highly recommend." —Chloe Schama, Senior Editor Vogue

“Educated shines a light on a part of our country that we too often overlook. Tara Westover’s powerful tale—of trying to find a place for herself in the world, without losing her connection to her family or her beloved home—deserves to be widely read. My Mamaw would have been rooting for Tara.”—J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy

"Marvelous. There is no feeling like discovering a young writer who is springing up so fully armed with so much talent."— Stephen Fry

......"[A] powerful, jaw dropper of a book."— Stylist Magazine ...... "Educated is an unflinching account of love and brutality, of the strength of blood ties and the power of imagination, and of a young woman whose intellect, self-knowledge and courage illuminate every page. There are passages so painfully vivid that they sear themselves into the memory, yet Westover is never prurient or punitive: even when writing from the depths, she does so with compassion and grace. Both the book and its writer are remarkable in every respect."— Sarah Perry #1 Sunday Times best-sellingauthor of The Essex Serpent “This remarkable memoir—one of the best I’ve ever read—is my kind of miracle. The book made me cringe, cry out, cover my eyes, shake with anger, beam with pride, and appreciate the trials that led to my own education. Tara Westover’s story will find a place alongside modern classic memoirs like Wild and The Glass Castle. It’s that special.”—Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire “Breathtaking, heart-wrenching, inspirational—I’ve never read anything like this. Educated tells the story of a young girl’s escape from violence and emotional prison. It is about the love of family and the pain of family both, the ferocity of the human spirit, and the power of education to change lives. Educated is one of the best books, and Westover one of the most gifted writers, that I’ve read in a very long time.”—Amy Chua, Yale law professor and author of Political Tribes and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother “A punch to the gut, a slow burn, a savage indictment, a love letter: Educated somehow contrives to be all these things at once. Tara Westover guides us through the extraordinary western landscape of her coming of age, and in clear, tender prose makes us feel what she felt, growing up among fanatics. Rarely have I read a book that made me so uncomfortable, so enraged, and at the same time so utterly, entirely absorbed.”—Claire Dederer, author of Love and Trouble “Educated is a wise and deep reflection about surviving one’s family. This is memoir at its best.”—Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place

“Marvelous . . . There is no feeling like discovering a young writer springing up fully armed with so much talent.”—Stephen Fry

“Powerful, moving, brave, naked, and completely at home in its form. This is a daughter’s story of how she grew into herself and came to understand her home. This book would be far less harrowing if it were a novel.”—Mona Simpson, author of Casebook and Anywhere but Here

Tara Westover

About the Author

“I understood that it was this fact, more than any other, that made my family different: we didn’t go to school.” EDUCATED

Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father's junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for a decade. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Read More

Photo credit: Paul Stuart Cover design: Patrik Svensson

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