A Memoir

by Tara Westover

Number of pages: 352

Publisher: Random House

BBB Library: Personal Success

ISBN: 978-0399590504

About the Author

Tara Westover was born in Idaho in 1986. She received her BA 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. Educated is her first book.


Editorial Review

This summary of Tara Westover’s book, Educated, tells the story of how Tara grew up in the mountains of Idaho, to a family that was isolated from mainstream society. Tara never went to school. She didn’t have a birth certificate until she was 9. But one day, she decided to pursue the quest for knowledge. Little did she know that by chasing knowledge, she’d be transforming herself and her life. 

Book Reviews

"Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”– New York Times

"Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind. . . . In briskly paced prose, she evokes a childhood that completely defined her. Yet it was also, she gradually sensed, deforming her.”– The Atlantic

"Riveting . . . Westover brings readers deep into this world, a milieu usually hidden from outsiders. . . . Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests.”– The Economist

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable. Her new book, Educated, is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life. . . . ★★★★ out of four.”– USA Today

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Wisdom to Share

You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.

We are all of us more complicated than the roles we are assigned in the stories other people tell.

It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.

Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were.

Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.

To admit uncertainty is to admit to weakness, to powerlessness, and to believe in yourself despite both. It is a frailty, but in this frailty there is a strength: the conviction to live in your own mind, and not in someone else’s.

Curiosity is a luxury for the financially secure

But sometimes I think we choose our illnesses, because they benefit us in some way.

He said positive liberty is self-mastery—the rule of the self, by the self. To have positive liberty, he explained, is to take control of one’s own mind; to be liberated from irrational fears and beliefs, from addictions, superstitions and all other forms of self-coercion.

An education is not so much about making a living as making a person.

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?