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Educated summary

Tara Westover

A Memoir

4.3 (167 ratings)
32 mins

Brief summary

Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir that chronicles the author's journey from a homeschooling survivalist family in Idaho to a PhD at Cambridge. It's a powerful story of self-discovery, challenging beliefs, and finding one's own truth.

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    Educated
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    Tara Westover grew up on a farm and her Mormon family had an unusual approach to schooling.

    When the author, Tara Westover, was seven years old, she enjoyed her life on the family farm in rural Idaho. She remembers fondly the days spent playing out in nature, with the wind blowing through her hair like a warm breath from the nearby mountains. On those days, it was as if she were one with the conifer trees and the wild wheat that covered the hills.

    Tara was the youngest of seven children, and even when she was young and carefree, she knew that her family was different.

    To begin with, neither Tara nor her siblings went to school. In fact, Tara had never set foot in a school, nor had she ever been to a hospital or even a doctor’s office. So, as far as the state of Idaho was concerned, Tara didn’t exist, since she was born at home and thus hadn’t been issued a birth certificate.

    But this doesn’t mean that Tara didn’t learn plenty of valuable lessons during her childhood. One thing she got very good at was bottling peaches in summer, when they were ripe, and then rotating the supplies during winter. She was also well versed in the rhythm of the nearby mountain, Buck’s Peak, or, as her father Gene called it, the “Indian Princess.”

    While Gene was happy with her being homeschooled, Tara’s grandmother believed that her grandchildren would be better off getting a normal education.

    Gene believed schools were nothing more than a way for the socialist government to brainwash kids and turn them into cogs in the machine. But, one day, Tara’s grandmother came to her with a proposition: tomorrow, at 5 a.m., she was leaving for Arizona and, if she wanted to, Tara could join her and be placed in a school.

    Tara thought about it long and hard that night, unable to sleep and plagued with thoughts about her family frantically searching for her. When dawn broke and the clock struck five, Tara decided she would stay with her parents.

    Along with his passionate political beliefs, Gene was also deeply religious. Just as he believed in the fulfilling rewards of working hard with his own two hands, he was committed to raising his family as faithful Mormons.

    This also meant that Gene believed a woman’s proper place was in the home. And this suited Tara’s mother, Faye, just fine. She was a traditional Mormon woman, devoted to marriage and motherhood, who also worked as an unlicensed midwife for other women in town.

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    What is Educated about?

    Educated (2018) is the memoir of Tara Westover, who grew up in a Mormon family in rural Idaho, and, despite never attending school, was able to earn a PhD from the University of Cambridge. However, she had to pay a high price to achieve her academic dreams. Indeed, she lost her family in the process.

    Educated Review

    Educated (2018) is a captivating memoir that explores the transformative power of education and the resilience of the human spirit. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With raw honesty and vulnerability, the author shares her journey from a childhood of abuse and isolation to becoming an educated woman.
    • This book offers a glimpse into a different world and challenges our assumptions about the role of education in shaping our identities.
    • Through its true story narrative, Educated explores themes of family, self-discovery, and the pursuit of knowledge, leaving readers both moved and inspired.

    Best quote from Educated

    No one is sure when the author was born. Her mother, father and grandmother recalled different dates.

    —Tara Westover
    example alt text

    Who should read Educated?

    • Readers who love astonishing memoirs
    • Anyone interested in a peek inside a Mormon family
    • Teachers and anyone curious about higher education

    About the Author

    Tara Westover was born in 1986, in Idaho. She received a BA from Brigham Young University and was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She completed her PhD in history in 2014 and was also a visiting fellow at Harvard University. Educated is her first book.

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    Educated FAQs 

    What is the main message of Educated?

    The main message of Educated is the transformative power of education and the pursuit of knowledge.

    How long does it take to read Educated?

    The reading time for Educated varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Educated a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Educated is a remarkable book worth reading. It portrays the remarkable journey of a woman who defied all odds to educate herself and find her true path in life.

    Who is the author of Educated?

    The author of Educated is Tara Westover.

    What to read after Educated?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Educated, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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