Book 4: Educated – Tara Westover

The first few pages of ‘Educated’ are filled with the same type of effusive reviews I read at the start ‘The Underground Railway’ so I braced myself for another hype-filled disappointment….but it turns out that ‘Educated’ is an altogether different kind of book.

I don’t want to put any spoilers here, just a few thoughts.

First things first, for me this memoir is a masterpiece. It’s a genuinely unbelievable story of survival and transformation.

Somehow Tara Westover escapes her family — a terrifying group of fundamentalist crackpots — and sets off on an incredible journey, gripping to the end. The reader is never quite sure how events will unfold and I would challenge anyone to put down the book anywhere in the last 100 pages.

Westover is an exceptionally gifted writer. Never self-pitying, never sensational — just wonderfully concise, elemental writing. There is a beautiful simplicity about the way she writes which reminded me of the German writer, Hermann Hesse. Her writing is both emotionally propulsive — I can’t remember being so caught up in a book— but also quietly poetic and meditative — quite a feat given the narrative.

This is a truly heartbreaking story full of brutality and subversion but it’s also a story of hope, belonging and gritty survival against the odds.

What a book!

I finished it this morning and it’s still rattling round my head. Unbelievable story and a true testament to the power of the human spirit.

Highly, highly recommended.

16 thoughts on “Book 4: Educated – Tara Westover

  1. Wow! I wondered what this one is about and I saw it in the shop…yes definitely now on my list to read after your review. I love Herman Hess’ style and so if it’s like this I’m sure I will love it. Memoirs are great when they drag you into them!


  2. Really looking forward to Book 5! The books you introduced are about education, suitable for me, a secondary school student. Again, Thank you for your book, I’m going to try those learning methods, I will read it asap! Can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

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