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Book review: ‘Educated: A memoir’ by Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir— by Tara Westover
(Random House)
Tara Westover’s account of her upbringing by Mormon survivalists in rural Idaho, and the life she built for herself a world away, is triumphant. There have been scores of other memoirs like this — of childhood rife with denial, abuse and the trauma inflicted by mentally ill parents — but none has astonished me as much. As the title indicates, for Westover, education was of paramount importance. As children, she and her siblings were homeschooled, but solely in the matters that concerned their violent, paranoid father. The boys worked the junkyard, while Tara assisted with her mother’s self-taught midwifery and herbalism. By way of gritty determination and a modicum of familial encouragement, Westover enrolled at Brigham Young University, and later at Cambridge University. Her telling of her personal and intellectual blossoming is one of the most compelling memoirs I’ve read. Had I not read this on a plane, I’d have cheered aloud many times at Westover’s spectacular achievement.
— Reviewed by Becky Dayton of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
 
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Brave, by Rose McGowan
Personal History, by Katherine Graham
I Am, I Am, I Am, by Maggie O’Farrell
Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

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