Book Title: Educated
Author: Tara Westover
Have you ever sat down and thought how life would turn out if you never had any form of education?
Educated is a memoir of Westover; her life, her family and how the world unfolded for her by making a single decision; to get educated.
Tara starts by introducing us to the basic home life they lived. A family set up on more of religious beliefs, Christian Mormons. Her father didn’t open up any avenues for them to believe in anything else other than what he made accessible. The government being the main enemy, he termed the government being evil. No formal education, all there was, home school. The only literature available was the Bible and church materials. Any questions were all answered by father. As a young girl Tara grew up knowing that her father had all the knowledge and everything he said was the final truth. She introduces a case where the dad twisted a story to fit their situation and prove to them that the government was some real enemy. In a later chapter after Tara knows of a different world she realizes the whole scenario was a lie. Her mother a local midwife who doubled as a herbalist too, agreed with the father too. She could never disagree to what he said. She would help give birth to locals who also didn’t believe in hospitals and offered treatment to the sick from her herb concoctions. With the little education she had she doubled up as the home teacher. Part one, basically Tara just introduces us to the family life. Their daily duties and how life unfolded for them.
Part two and life is about to take a turn for Tara when her brother who had chosen a different path tells her she should enroll to college. With no formal education Tara doesn’t understand how she is supposed to hack it out. But with some sort of drive and curiosity, Tara registers for the exam.
No background of formal education, we see how Tara’s life unfolds in college. She is in a whole different world. Women not covering up, expressing themselves freely, talking to the males. To her this was a different world. One she wasn’t used to. Could she blend in? She constantly questions her capabilities. Her agreeing to join school doesn’t sit so much with her parents but with time they pass out. In this chapters Tara lets us in on how life unfolds and how much she didn’t know. Her view on her parents change, she often questions why they could be so ignorant. Hatred and anger cloud her, acts as some sort of fuel to her need to learn more about this strange world that had been locked out from her. Tara slowly starts adopting to this new world, drops what she knew previously and embraces the unknown. What would be your reaction if you saw someone in dire pain and they tell you they can’t visit the hospital because they will pump her with poison? Weird right. At one point we see her refusing to apply for a grant well because the government will spy on her and she didn’t want anything to do with the government. We remember her father was anti- government.
Part three and the Tara who we saw grow from a naïve lady is now a more educated and enlightened woman. She is currently pursuing her masters, she no longer subscribes to her parents ignorance. She makes her own decisions, she tackles her fears. She still visits home, though everything has changed and her family looks at her differently. Her brother who bullied her all her life dislikes her, he views her as a rebel. Towards the end we see Tara has completely cut off ties with her family, although the division is into two; those who chose to get Educated beyond what their father taught them and those who chose to stay and never leave. Tara finally is Dr. Westover. She chooses to live life by her ways.
This memoir brings out several lessons that affect us in our daily lives. The choice of making hard decisions on whether to please our family or to do what seems right for us. The price sometimes we pay out of ignorance, sometimes being not our fault. How we would argue that we know everything yet we haven’t lived beyond ourselves. Tara made a choice to leave home and a whole world opened up to her, things she wouldn’t have known. Lessons of that sometimes our parents don’t always make the best decisions for us. The memoir also brings out severe psychological disorders that we ignore among family members, in this case her father and elder brother who kept abusing her but everyone turned a blind eye. She also didn’t know this was happening. But one would also ask, is being enlightened a great thing?
Educated is such a roller coaster sets you up to all forms of emotions. A great read that I would greatly recommend. Find it in your favorite bookstores and enjoy the read.