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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Educated by Tara Westover, read by Julia Whelan.

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected. 

She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.

As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At 16 Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, from her singular experience Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

Earphones Award Winner for Audiofile magazine.

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"One of my favourite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon...Tara Westover’s Educated is a remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind." (Barack Obama) 

"Marvellous. There is no feeling like discovering a young writer who is springing up fully armed with so much talent." (Stephen Fry)
"A striking story, beautifully told. Tara is an incredible new talent...I was holding my breath through parts, willing her to be okay." (Cathy Retzinbrink, author of The Last Act of Love)

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Wonderful, inspiring book on the value of education

While this book has plenty of grim stories of life growing up in a Mormon survivalist home, this is much more than a book about survival.

Westover makes this a book about education in its clearest, most uncynical form. This is a hymn to the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning not to be frightened of making mistakes on your path to knowledge.

It is similar to JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Yet whereas Vance’s journey from hillbilly to literary star could only make you admire his determination & discipline, Westover’s is a more humane vision. She fails, doubts and self-sabotages yet never loses faith that acquiring knowledge about the world and her fellow humans is a liberation (even when it unsettles).

Most importantly she provides hope for us all: that hopeless ignorance is only ever a book or good teacher away from being transformed, if you have the desire.

Like Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood it can be a challenging read at times: but what sings out is not the badness she experiences, but the goodness & generosity she frequently encounters (whilst remaining astounding generous to her family’s flaws)

A beautiful, inspiring read

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary

This had me gripped from the beginning. Beautifully written. It's devastating and uplifting. Heart stopping and heart warming. One of the best books I've ready in a long time. Inspiring all the way.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • Birmingham uk
  • 14-03-18

Wow

I found this very shocking & sad at times.
I throughly enjoyed listening to the story of Tara’s life unfold.
I found it hard to understand how her father had such a hold over his children even after Tara had started a PHD her father still managed to cause problems in Tara’s mind.
A very brave lady, who managed to get herself an education of the highest level despite never attending a school.
I could not under stand why towards the end she felt she might have been guilt of wrong doing.
Sad thing us there are children today being raised in similar homes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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a tinderbox life story

a breathless and humbling story of survival and phoenix like success. A clarion call for education and understanding of mental health.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

Gripping, haunting, disturbing, frightening, inspiring, courageous, uplifting, honest, heart and soul - just some of the words that come to mind in this must read. The journey to realisation and self worth laid out in uncompromising honesty. A privilege to be allowed to share the journey of this remarkable person.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Elma
  • London
  • 28-03-18

Autobiography

A well written account of the life so far of Tara Westover. Although I was hoping to get more insight into the Mormon faith. The book is very moving and is very descriptive, it feels very real. This will always be about perception though and it will raise it's own questions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr J
  • London, UK
  • 15-01-19

one of the best ever

absolutely beautifully written, desperately sad at times, but a triumph on every level and not to be missed

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Interesting story but do your own research, too many things didn’t add up!

Got really drawn in on this only to hear that a number of her siblings also have phd and have excelled in their education plus a number of heart wrenching stories she shared about her siblings were not recalled the same way by those siblings... as I continued to listen to it I realised this could just as easily be a delusion as it was an accurate account and this made me question everything she was saying...

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LOVE

powerful and Grappling. I couldn't stop listening. An awakening of feminism story is always a joy.

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Honest

An incredibly dramatic childhood recalled undramatically. Brilliant.
It's hard to fathom these events happening in the recent past rather than some far distant day of yesteryear. It's only when Tara references events like 9/11 or Obamacare, that I remember that we are close to the same age.
If I were that Tara, would I have been as strong?

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  • Charmaine P
  • 09-10-18

You can’t be off the grid forever....it ain’t ‘right’!

There’s another side to life that I don’t even know about.... What was this father even thinking in keeping his family off the grid. And, the ‘vasbyt’ and determination of one child to get a degree without ever having been to school ..... I loved this book and it’s really well written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Janel
  • 09-01-19

Speechless

I couldn't put it down. I'm very touched and deeply hurt (for her) by her story. I'm just speechless.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-12-18

Religion: good or bad

It never ceases to surprise me how many wrongful things are being accepted in the name of religion. Does religion come before humanity? I would love a follow up on Tara's life in about 10 years.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-12-18

What an amazing wonderful memoir.

Fantastic narrating and heartwrenching story. What a talented author! I hope there's more on the way.

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  • Petroise van Driessel
  • 24-11-18

Wow wow WOW!!!

This was an eye opener. Astonishing and tender. Well written and sensitive with full development of the characters. These people we are bound to by love and who mould and determine our destiny. Thank you for sharing your life Tara! LOVED!!!!!

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  • elisabeth
  • 28-08-18

Loved it

An honest gut wrenching autobiography of a difficult childhood and the challenge to rise above it

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane
  • 12-06-18

Worth reading

Beautifully documented memoir. Great study of family secrets and painful love. I highly recommend it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Thandi Lamprecht
  • 15-05-18

Excellent

Fantastic memoir- like all the very best books it stays with you long after you’ve finished and you wish there was more.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful