Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days in rural Idaho with radical survivalist Mormon parents. She didn’t get a birth certificate until she was nine and had no medical records because her father did not believe in doctors. She and her six older siblings worked in her father’s junkyard. As she grew older, her father’s beliefs became more extreme and one of her brothers grew violent.
At 17, she decided to educate herself as a means of escape. Within 10 years she had earned a PhD in intellectual history and political thought from Cambridge but was estranged from her parents and half of her siblings. Now 31 and still living in Cambridge, Educated is her first novel and is about the transformative power of education and the price she had to pay for it.
Part of our ‘Beyond the Book’ Series. View
Elizabeth Day talks to Tara Westover about what it’s like to love your family but to be estranged from them, and how the two ideas can co-exist. They also discuss how on earth someone teaches themselves algebra and what it was like to refuse any pain medication despite having a dental abscess. Her failures include flunking tests, finding it difficult to make friends, her failure to believe in her family’s religion even though she wanted to and her failure to make her relationship with her parents work.Play
Kate and Laura sit down to chat about the books read most recently by their book clubs. What did they make of them? Did they spark debate? And whether they loved them or loathed them, they always try to answer the big question: were they great book club books? This memoir made Barack Obama’s summer reading list but what did Kate and Laura think about it? Moving? Credible? Plenty to discuss? Listen and find out.Play
Discover more about the person behind the book as she talks – and sings – through this remarkable Commencement speech. She reminds us of the selves that we don’t post on social media.Watch
Tara’s upbringing may appear extreme but her family were by no means exceptional. The American Redoubt movement aims to create a safe haven where like-minded Americans, many of whom refer to themselves as “preppers,” can live off the land, be more self-sufficient and wait out the calamities to come. This video looks at one couple’s off-grid lifestyle in the American Redoubt.
Goali Saedi Bocci in Psychology Today explores the memoir from a psychological view point, as a story that encourages profound reflection in each of us as to how we become who we are once we step outside the shadows of family.Read Article
“Good message, although some supporting information isn’t entirely accurate” – Tyler W
Read Tyler Westover’s review of his sister’s book. He gives it 5 stars but emphasises that, as with many siblings, ‘we have different memories and different perceptions of the same events’.Read Article
Tara Westover Website
Visit the author’s website for events, other books and more.https://tarawestover.com/