Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Educated: The Life Story of an Amazing Backwoods Girl

Everyone who has paid taxes and continues to do so, has  dreamed of living "off the grid".  Educated, is the memoir of Tara Westover, who because of her family,  did just that!

Let me start by saying that this book once opened and in your hands, will be hard to put down.  So be prepared to let everything else slip, while you get drawn into this memoir.

educated book cover beside author's photo - Tara Westover
                                                              Photo from the New York Times

Tara and her family live on Buck's Peak in Idaho.  They are a tight knit family not because of undivided love, but rather necessity.  They are a large family of seven children. Living off the grid is not easy and Tara's father has long held that government and modern times are both evil.  These are to be avoided at all and any costs.  The family does not have strong ties to the community which is small at best.  But they are strong in their faith life.  Reading from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Mormon prophets is their only entertainment.

Mom is an herbalist, with a love for natural healing from the abundance around her.  Tara and her mom are always working to prepare the family for the inevitable downfall of all humanity.  Dad speaks to "God" and has his own visions of what needs to be accomplished to keep his family safe in the trying days to come.

While running his scrapyard, he is also consumed with the coming Y2K debacle and the end times.  He is constantly preparing bunkers with food and water, staples and gas so that when the inevitable last days arrive, they will be safe and saved. 

bucks peak in the fall
                                            Buck's Peak in the Fall

Tara never goes to school proper.  She and her siblings are home schooled. Mom make tinctures and creams.  These will be their only forms of medicine, because Dad doesn't believe in Doctors.  Mom also becomes the local midwife, after learning from the elderly woman who has been the midwife for years.  All of this is kept very quiet as they don't want any interference from the government.  Every birth is punctuated with worry that things will not "go" according to plan.  Heaven help them if a mother should die in the birthing process.  

Tara's brothers are a mixed bunch.  Some take care of Tara with tenderness and love, while one of the eldest has a mean streak the width of a country road.  While Tara is terrorized by him, Dad and Mom just keep on working and ignore any of his actions and the subsequent injuries that Tara has received at his hands.  Even such simple things as birth certificates were not issued for the children.  All were home birthed and never registered anywhere.  Not until one of the brothers wants to get a driver's licence does Tara's mom start the process of registering the birth of her children.  

Tara's story is unique in that it takes place today.  With all the means of communication and learning, the Westover family knew none of it.  

Despite her lack of many material things, Tara is gifted with a tenacity that will not let her fail.  Once she has made the decision to leave the mountain, there is no holding her back.  Educated is a story that is real, interesting, happy and sad at times, but never dull.

I read this in three days and just hated when my eyes were so tired they could not read another page.  

Educated is a story of re-birth both physical and emotional.  It's a story of choices and the possible breakdown of all that you knew to be true.  Tara is like the caterpillar turning into the butterfly.  Change though can be painful too and you will see that in the pages you are reading.  

From a seventeen year old girl, who has never entered a classroom before, to a young woman who has a PhD and has studied at Cambridge and Harvard, she certainly has learned that you and you alone can become "Educated" 

For your reading pleasure you can start a free trial with Audible and get to read "Educated" for the best price ever $0.00! 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. I am looking forward to this one. I keep hearing about it. It's time to sit down and read it!

    1. It is amazing Joan, time to sit down, relax (if you can) and get this book cracked open. It truly is a must read!

  2. This sounds perfectly up my alley. Thank you for the review. I hadn't heard of it.

    1. Dawn, you will love this boo I'm sure. Once I started it, I could not put it down. For a first time author, she really did herself proud and is deserving of all the accolades.

  3. A rather intriguing story, and a way of life most of us cannot even imagine. Amazing that Tara was able to accomplish all that she has done.

    1. It is amazing what the human spirit can do when it is moved to do something. I think the fact that she never really had the opportunity to learn in a setting that was conducive to learning, had a lot to do with it. At 17 she was learning about the atrocities that happened during WW2. She had never heard of the holocaust and a host of other world topics. She was like the proverbial sponge taking all of it in!

  4. This sounds like a wonderful book that offers a different type of education for all of us. I suspect we would all learn a few things while reading it. Thanks for the review and the recommendation. Sounds like a "must read" book for sure.

    1. Miss Mouse, truly, honestly, this book is a "must read" without a question. We learn a lot from her family and her life. It really is an eye opener!

  5. I own this in audiobook form and found it riveting - fascinating, appalling, inspiring and enthralling. I've recommended it to several people!

  6. Yes Margaret, I would agree with you on all counts. It is all that and so much more. I will go back and re-read this book at least once more.

  7. This sounds like a really interesting story. Most of us, having spent our lives living in what are classed as "normal" situations, being educated in schools, having watched television, listened to modern music, experienced the news from around the world, find it hard to imagine what life is like for someone who has pretty much been cut off from the outside world for their whole life. To suddenly be opened to the "real" world must be a huge shock, and at the same time open the doors to a huge adventure.

    1. Tony, this book is so well written and the author really lets you "live" what she was living through the telling of this memoir. Yes, to all you have written and more. It really is a must read!

  8. This book sounds amazing! I need to get my hubby hooked up to audible, I think he'd really enjoy books this way. And I think he'd like this one. I'm so intrigued by her achievement, and yep, I may have to read this one soon!

  9. Barbara, you will not be sorry that you made time to read this book. It really is a riveting story from start to finish. It is amazing what the human mind can do when given the opportunity to grow.....


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