Educated by Tara Westover

Another best seller! it’s been a great year for the top reads for this book club.

“Utterly unforgettable….This is a as powerful a story about the transforming potential of education as you’ll ever read” Bookseller.

Meeting at 4.15pm on Tuesday 7th April in the library

2 thoughts on “Educated by Tara Westover”

  1. Just finished this book. Great read. I am thinking that fundamentalism occurs not only in Mormonism but in other major religionsso it will strike a chord with many. The family mental illness was interesting and how she still managed to break away, ever so painfully, from all the hardship she experienced. Can’t wait to hear what you all thought

  2. One of the overriding feelings I had throughout when reading the book was how someone could endure the ongoing cruelty and abuse that she and the other characters suffered.She states very strongly in the Author’s Note at the beginning ‘This story is not about Mormonism….or about any other form of religious belief’ – but surely it’s about the fundamentalism that often goes with extreme religious belief? All the preparation and talk about the Days of Abomination…when the World of Men failed – is all based on the father’s interpretation of Mormon teaching and belief.
    At age seven she sees the school bus ‘I understand that it is this that makes my family different, we don’t go to school’ – and it is amazing that having had little or no schooling that Tara and two of her brothers managed to achieve PhDs. It would make you question formal education at an early age – maybe there should be more homeschooling – time will tell as lots of our youngsters (and parents) are getting a taste for homeschooling in present times – and some of them are loving it!
    But it’s the relationships in the book that are most difficult to fathom. Her father is a cruel, mentally unstable, paranoid man – yet she makes excuses for him all the time – blaming herself, saying that there was a ‘misunderstanding’. Her brother Shawn was violent, domineering, psychotic – his use of the words ‘nigger’ and ‘whore’ to address her, and his treatment of his girlfriends and wife as well as his sisters amounts to extreme psychological abuse – and was horrific – and yet she returned home and put herself into dangerous situations with him again and again and again. The way Shawn can turn suddenly and apologise is sickening!
    Her mother blows hot and cold, supporting her sometimes but then siding with the father most of the time. Her sister Audrey tries initially to get Tara to support her allegations, but neither of them is strong enough to stand up against the domineering father. It’s clearly a male-dominated, patriarchal society (no wonder the likes of Trump can succeed when people like that exist !) Her brother Tyler in a review of the book says ‘our parents are extremists…there is no doubt that there was abuse, neglect…’ He then commends his parents for the positive advice they gave him about pursuing his further education, graduate studies etc. and says of Tara ‘In many cases she greatly incorrectly conveyed my experiences’.
    A psychologist who reviewed the book said ‘ if even a quarter of what happened to her were true, it would still be deemed highly traumatic’. It’s no wonder she had a breakdown towards the end of the book, and it is to her credit that through all that trauma she managed to achieve such a high academic standard.
    I can’t say I enjoyed reading the book but it does bring up plenty of food for thought and lots of topics for discussion e.g. strong family ties and loyalty; extreme religious beliefs; ignorance V education – and lots more.

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