Educated

A Memoir

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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 of 2018
BBC’s Books Look Ahead 2018
Stylist’s 20 Must-Read Books to Make Room For in 2018
Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2018
Bustle’s 13 Authors You Need to Be Watching in 2018
LibraryReads’s February Top 10
Daily Express’s Must-Have New Reads
The Pool’s Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2018
Vogue’s What to Read This Fall

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 one’s closest ties. 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.

Praise for Educated

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
 
“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

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, author of The Essex Serpent

“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

“A memoir that is fit to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage . . . a compelling and ultimately joyous account of self-determination.”The Sunday Times (UK)

“One of the best, most absorbing memoirs I’ve ever read.”—Stylist

“Fiercely intelligent . . . a fascinating and compassionate view of another world.”—The Pool

“An inspiring and important tale for our times.”—Rebecca Stott, author of In the Days of Rain

“Unflinching in confronting the cost of self-preservation, this book is beautiful in its bravery.”—Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

“A striking story, beautifully told. Tara Westover is an incredible talent.”—Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

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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.

Photo by Paul Stuart

Educated

A Memoir

Buy

Educated

— Published by Random House —