Book reviews

Written by: Ellen Young


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Written by: Tara Westover

As a fellow woman who was raised Mormon AND grew up in Idaho, this book felt very familiar for me. Although my background is not nearly the same as Westover’s, I enjoyed her discussion of elements specifically related to that part of the US. It truly is an awe-inspiring, unique environment and the culture is one I have yet to see outside of the Idaho/Utah/Arizona area. If you may recommend another book that gives you the modern-day version of “wild west” vibes, I would love to hear it.

Educated was recommended by a few European friends who heard the buzzwords, “Mormon” and “Idaho” and so I sort of brushed it off as long as possible. However, once I finally opened these pages, it was a tough read to put down.

When, against all odds, against familial support and judgement, someone is able to escape an oppressive lifestyle and religion—we should all pay a bit more attention. Not only is this grit, work ethic, and personal history important for a person’s character, but it molds a person into an incredible student and leader.

To go from manipulation, bullying, and so much more abuse, Tara Westover has certainly risen, like a phoenix from the ashes. Her ability to teach herself, to practice patience and growth amid judgement from her peers, and to move on and eventually becoming a world-renowned writer and earning her PhD from Cambridge.

I understand the critics of this book and I too found some of it “unbelievable,” but this is a memoir after all, and what makes for great inspiration and reading if not something truly unique and exceptional. It’s tough to constantly remind yourself that the contents and stories within this book have all taken place in the last twenty years.

If I had to describe this book in one word, that word would be, “remarkable.” •