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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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What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

8 of 8 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Robin
  • Towcester, United Kingdom
  • 16-11-18

Amazing autobiography

This was the best autobiography I can remember reading. It has all the elements of a top class thriller and is utterly compelling.
The excellent audio version is a joy to listen to.

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Very good book

well written fascinating story about extremism in a democratic country, a woman able to escape the shackles of a twisted upbringing.

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I was completely hooked

From the moment the book began, I was hooked. The story was completely gripping. Because the stroy is still current, I was then moved to read the Amazon reviews from the family members, their employees and friends who branded it lies and all awarded it one star (in contrast to the 92 per cent of readers who gave 4 or 5) and also those from Tara's loyal brother Tyler (to whom she dedicates the book) and her then partner, who confirm her story in as far as they are able and award her 5 stars. I then looked up the farm on Google earth, researched the family business, looked up the entire family on Facebook, correctly identified their real names, including her main tormentor and read their entries. I watched all her interviews on Youtube. I also went back to those reviewers who questioned her story where they believed there to be factual inaccuracies and went back to her book and found, with the excetion of one quite important detail, it was the reviewer who had misread what she had actually said. Imagine reading a book that would trigger that amount of interest and research. I believed almost every detail with the exception of two matters I am unable to reconcile and wish I could have asked her about them - namely a close up photgraph of her father taken after the explosion does not seem to result in the injuries and thus scarring she searingly describes in the book, and also my belief that her brother actually was guilty of far more than she exposed in the book. In spite of everything, she still loves her family. I applaud the author and hope we hear more from her.

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Educated by Educated

A memoir that gripped me from the beginning. It had me open mouthed in parts and shaking my head in disbelief in others. Poignant, and a true example of a strong powerful woman who followed her own dream despite the heartbreaking sacrifices she’d have to make.

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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.

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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