Author: Tara Westover
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school. Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.
Tara Westover’s story of her pursuit of education is a brave and honest retelling of her childhood struggle to know more about the world around her. Growing up in a survivalist, Mormon family, young Tara knows nothing of the world around her–a fact made startlingly clear to her over and over again as she grows older and pursues education. Her account of her father and her devotion to him throughout her young life is profound and is sometimes a struggle to understand. Despite his extreme views and beliefs and his complete intolerance for anything that he views as an affront to his religion, Tara continues to love him and believe in him. Even when their differences grow to be too great, her heart is still open to him and her family.
This story is very difficult to read at time for the abuses and injustices that occur. Tara’s strength to seek out education is inspiring. Her adult life is full of encouraging mentors who recognize her potential. Her story demonstrates the benefit and necessity of education in the world. Although her family deems it to be evil and do not understand her as she drifts away from their world, Tara continues to seek out her path to knowledge.
This story is incredibly powerful and moving. I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s an important story to hear and to understand. Tara’s struggle for education isn’t unique, but hopefully she can inspire others to aid those who also wish to learn and do not have the ability or freedom to pursue it.
I would highly recommend this memoir. This is one I could read again and again.