“ Never again would I allow myself to be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand.”
I went into Educated expecting an uplifting story of one woman’s struggle to become educated, a memoir about learning how to learn with a unique perspective on the education system. So as I settled in, expecting a contemplative temple rub, I was instead met with a slap in the face.
I was caught off guard by a heartbreaking tale of a dysfunctional family that puts religion above the safety and wellbeing of their children.
Westover grew up lacking something almost all of us take for granted: a greater sense of reality. She spent her days hoarding canned food and fuel for Judgement day. She slept listening to bedtime stories about government conspiracies to murder her family. She ate listening to daily lectures about the healing power of homeopathy and God’s love. Meanwhile the household pulses with domestic violence and psychological abuse.
Upon reading Educated, I am left with one overriding feeling: gratitude. Gratitude for a wonderful family who gave me a childhood of safety and happiness, providing a foundation that gave me agency and freedom. Tara Westover was not given this foundation. She was born on the ground, and for every year after, was slowly buried alive by a culture of deception, seclusion and paranoia. Educated is her story of clawing back to reality.