Educated by Tara Westover

An astonishing biography which tells the tale of a child growing to adulthood within a family of fundamentalist Mormons in Idaho USA. It was this family’s set of beliefs (led by her Father) which prevented Westover from receiving an ordinary education, or even a birth certificate. Instead, to help supplement the family income, she helped her father with the scrap metal dealing, the feeding of huge pieces of metal pieces into the chopper, climbing along part-built roof ridges and similar hair-raising activities. When working with her mother, she assisted in midwifery; her mother was a herbalist/midwife where a qualified practitioner was out of the question to the financially pressed families surrounding them. What she learned was self-preservation and hope of escape via formal education. The book tells a tale you may expect of the 19thC, but this is a modern tale. The descriptions of the beatings, the horrific accidents and the bizarre rituals are compelling but at no point do we really feel that the authoress has let us come to know her or her beliefs. Culminating in a PHD, a life away from the constrictions of her family, we are left unsure how far she has really come knowing more of her family than we do of her.

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