September 9, 2018
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
I just read a memoir that I most certainly could not put down. I found the pages of this book practically turn themselves. Readers will absolutely escape their own reality and be transported back to Westover’s childhood where they will be thanking their lucky stars it was not their own. I was beyond captivated by Tara Westover’s story and utterly baffled by her childhood and family dynamics. In her memoir titled Educated, Westover shares her story of growing up on a mountain in Idaho with her parents and siblings. Her father was a survivalist (always preparing for the end of the word…literally) and a religious fanatic. He ran a scrap metal business on his land (basically a dangerous junkyard) with his capable children who provided free labor. He truly believed in the “will of God”. As someone who was anti-government and western medicine, he raised his family off the grid (no birth certificates, doctors, schools, etc.). Westover’s mother, a midwife and a self -trained herbalist/healer was the primary “Doctor” to her family no matter the severity. Though her parents claimed to have successfully homeschooled their children, the memoir tells us differently.
Westover grew up with essentially no formal education. When old enough, she worked in her dad’s scrap metal pile in harm’s way enduring serious injuries. She was mentally and physically abused by one of her brothers. Wanting more from her life, she challenged her parent’s beliefs and somehow got herself accepted to college where she experienced a classroom and formal education for the first time at age 17. As the years went by, she continued to struggle with adapting to the mainstream, while battling emotional push and pull with her parents and family. Despite her family drama, Westover goes on to study and earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious Cambridge University.
This story was downright jaw-dropping. I paused throughout the book many times saying “WHAT?!?!”. I was stunned and mesmerized by Westover’s story and how it’s craziness just kept intensifying. It no doubt raises questions on what is the definition of “responsible parenting”, who gets to judge, and where/when the line is drawn?
I am hoping my friends enjoy the strangeness of this memoir for what it is. If anything, it will make them appreciate their own stories!!!!!!!!
Your Biggest Fan,
P.S. Check out two more books with a similar vibe that I absolutely LOVED…
To purchase each book, simply click on its cover!
The Great Alone (fiction) by Kristin Hannah
The Glass Castle (memoir) by Jeannette Walls