Educated by Tara Westover is a disturbing account of the terrifying abuse and neglect that Tara Westover and her siblings experienced. I find it extraordinary that any of them survived to adulthood.
What elevates Tara’s experiences from the usual “toxic horror family saga” is her writing, which is lyrical:
“The gales are strong this close to the mountain, as if the peak itself is exhaling. Down below the valley is peaceful, undisturbed. Meanwhile our farm dances: the heavy conifer trees sway slowly, while the sagebrush and thistles quiver, bowing before every puff and pocket of air.”
I was mystified by the lack of any government intervention or help from others in the community. This was a family where children never attended school, where some of their births weren’t recorded, and where major injuries were incurred without medical care.
Tara’s will to educate herself, knowing that is her only way out of her family’s stronghold, is almost superhuman. I must say I was a little skeptical in regard to her being bale to pass exams that other students had spent their entire education preparing for, and I hope that my skepticism is ill-founded.
I expect that Tara Westover will spend the rest of her life coming to terms with her childhood, and I hope that writing her story has helped her journey to acceptance and peace. I will certainly never forget her story.
Review by Gaby Meares,
Co-Group Coordinator of the Murder on a Monday Reading Group