Building a future from ground up


Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir of her life’s experiences, from growing up in a survivalist family in Idaho to studying by herself to attending Cambridge. Her story is about perseverance and how an education can be life-changing.

Miriam Antony, Staff Writer

We often take even the most essential things for granted before they are gone. One thing that many modern students take for granted is their education. Education is a tool that goes beyond just “book learning” and helps students to think for themselves. Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover, helps remind of the importance of an experience-based education and the amazing effects it can have on people’s lives.

Tara Westover speaks about her unique experiences growing up in a survivalist family living in the mountains of Idaho. She was discouraged from attending school, and spent her days helping her father with construction work or her mother with chores. When it becomes apparent to Tara that one of her older brothers, Shawn, is becoming violent towards the family, another one of Tara’s older brothers, Tyler, urges Tara to study and go to college to escape and to build herself a better future.

One of the most refreshing parts of the story is Tara’s want to fit in with the other students and people at her colleges, while still wanting to hold on to her childhood values. Although most teens who read the novel probably would not have shared many of Westwood’s extreme experiences, she manages to connect to readers through her universal struggle to accept or reject values that had been ingrained in her since childhood.

I also enjoyed reading about the author’s changing points of view on various topics, before and after her education. I also liked how Westover talked about her education in regards with her religion and how her beliefs impacted her point of view. One example is when she originally thought diet Coke was against her beliefs because it was unhealthy, but then later on she began accepting it.

I enjoyed the author’s unique and intimate perspective of her experiences. Even though I have not spent days mixing herbs to make medicine on the mountains of Idaho, I could understand the author’s thoughts. Although Westover experiences many things that the average reader might not have, she manages to draw us in, something very few authors can manage. For this reason, Educated by Tara Westover proved to be a fresh take on education, and a reminder that it should never be taken from granted.