BKMT READING GUIDES

No.
26


 
Interesting,
Inspiring,
Dramatic

20 reviews

Educated: A Memoir
by Tara Westover

Published: 2018-02-20
Hardcover : 352 pages
245 members reading this now
931 clubs reading this now
36 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 18 of 20 members
#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST FOR THE ...
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Introduction

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE’S AWARD IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE’S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK • FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post O: The Oprah MagazineTime • NPR • Good Morning America San Francisco ChronicleThe Guardian The Economist Financial TimesNewsdayNew York PosttheSkimmRefinery29BloombergSelfReal Simple Town & CountryBustlePastePublishers WeeklyLibrary JournalLibraryReadsBookRiot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue


“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review

Editorial Review

Amazon Editors' #1 Pick for the Best Book of 2018: Tara Westover wasn’t your garden variety college student. When the Holocaust was mentioned in a history class, she didn’t know what it was (no, really). That’s because she didn’t see the inside of a classroom until the age of seventeen. Public education was one of the many things her religious fanatic father was dubious of, believing it a means for the government to brainwash its gullible citizens, and her mother wasn’t diligent on the homeschooling front. If it wasn’t for a brother who managed to extricate himself from their isolated—and often dangerous--world, Westover might still be in rural Idaho, trying to survive her survivalist upbringing. It’s a miraculous story she tells in her memoir Educated. For those of us who took our educations for granted, who occasionally fell asleep in large lecture halls (and inconveniently small ones), it’s hard to grasp the level of grit—not to mention intellect—required to pull off what Westover did. But eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University may have been the easy part, at least compared to what she had to sacrifice to attain it. The courage it took to make that sacrifice was the truest indicator of how far she’d come, and how much she’d learned. Educated is an inspiring reminder that knowledge is, indeed, power. --Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

1. Many of Tara’s father’s choices have an obvious impact on Tara’s life, but how did her mother’s choices influence her? How did that change over time?

2. Tara’s brother Tyler tells her to take the ACT. What motivates Tara to follow his advice?

3. Charles was Tara’s first window into the outside world. Under his influence, Tara begins to dress differently and takes medicine for the first time. Discuss Tara’s conflicting admiration for both Charles and her father.

4. Tara has titled her book Educated and much of her education takes place in classrooms, lectures, or other university environments. But not all. What other important moments of “education” were there? What friends, acquaintances, or experiences had the most impact on Tara? What does that imply about what an education is?

5. Eventually, Tara confronts her family about her brother’s abuse. How do different the members of her family respond?

6. What keeps Tara coming back to her family as an adult?

7. Ultimately, what type of freedom did education give Tara?

8. Tara wrote this at the age of thirty, while in the midst of her healing process. Why do you think she chose to write it so young, and how does this distinguish the book from similar memoirs?

9. Tara paid a high price for her education: she lost her family. Do you think she would make the same choice again?

Suggested by Members

have you ever had a WOW aha moment? What did you learn?
by lizblair (see profile) 03/10/19

What role did public education play in your family? Was homeschooling even thought of or a possibility for anyone in your vicinity?
What events lead the author to decide to leave her family and begin her public education?
What strengths were required to break away from the father in this story? Would you have been able to break away?
by pkoscinski (see profile) 02/19/19

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by catstathakis@charter.net (see profile) 08/20/19

 
by agrubert@yahoo.com (see profile) 08/15/19

 
by mendelson.annc@gmail.com (see profile) 08/14/19

 
by sruyack (see profile) 08/10/19

 
by iuliavasile91@gmail.con (see profile) 08/10/19

 
by jodberg@hotmail.com (see profile) 08/07/19

 
by jennelle.haggmark@gmail.com (see profile) 08/06/19

 
by kiley.bish@gmail.com (see profile) 08/04/19

It ends before the author’s personal journey is complete; she is unable to really reflect on the horrors she went through. It needed to be more critical of religion and the power of poisonous men, etc... (read more)

 
by theglets@verizon.net (see profile) 08/04/19

 
by Rosensteph (see profile) 08/03/19

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