Best Book to Snuggle With This Weekend: Educated by Tara Westover

Growing up in the wilderness of Idaho, Tara Westover struggled with her self-identity and her loyalty to her family. In her memoir, Educated, Westover describes her childhood of steel: days spent in the junkyard, the smell of lavender coming from the house, the rowdiness of her father and brothers, and the mountain - otherwise known as the Indian Princess - protecting the Westovers from the deceitful government and the medical establishment.

Educated is a rather heavy read, but Westover will empower you to seek out the enlightenments of education, to defeat the disturbing shadows of ignorance and to cultivate an identity independent of familial constraints.

Westover left her family behind as she fled the country in search of higher education, leaving her feeling guilty about having possibly betrayed her family. Second-guessing her decisions and morality, she returns to Idaho and is faced with challenges of betrayal, torture, and submission. Yet, even through this struggle, she learns about feminism, the history of the black man, the symptoms of biopolar disorder, and to slowly accept help and to open up to friends and mentors. Feminism makes Westover aware of a woman’s power and capability to be no less than a man and the gender inequality within her own family. The history of the black man teaches her the cruelty behind a single derogatory word, which makes her conscious of others’ sufferings instead of solely hers or her family’s. Lasly, she learns about the mental disease that perpetrated her childhood and and succumbed her father into delusion and paranoia. In her journey, Westover finally learns the reason why she grew up preparing for the "end times," while other kids her age were going to school, playing with their friends, and living a normal life.

“You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it can education,” Westover states in her memoir. Having chosen selfhood over family, she knew the decision would be painful and emotionally excruciating. Still, she hopes that there will be a day her family will forgive her for not choosing them, and the reader can only hope alongside her for the moment when Tara Westover can say, “It was time to go home.”

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