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Title: A Comprehensive Book Review of “Educated” by Tara Westover

Educated is the incredible true story of Tara Westover’s journey from a home-schooled Idahoan mountain family to achieving a Ph.D. at Cambridge University. It highlights the challenges and opportunities that come with taking control of your own education, as well as the power of family ties and personal faith. The book has resonated with millions of readers, inspiring them to take a closer look at their own limitations and strive for more.

Westover’s memoir details her upbringing in a conservative, Mormon family whose religious beliefs stood in contrast to many of the options presented to her through formal schooling and career. Through anecdote and narration, she weaves together her experiences and how they shaped her into the person she is today.

This comprehensive book review of “Educated” will cover the background of the book, an overview of the main themes, characters, and plot points, analysis of Westover’s writing style, key takeaways, critiques from the media, and impact it had on the author. Ultimately, this guide hopes to inspire readers to reflect upon the lessons they learned from Westover’s life story.

Introduction

Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, is a remarkable story of a young woman’s journey from the isolated confines of her mountain home in Idaho to the halls of Harvard University. Growing up with a survivalist family that homeschooled her, Westover was sheltered from formal education and the outside world. But at age seventeen, she enrolled herself at Brigham Young University against her family’s wishes and went on to become a successful student and writer. Westover’s story is an inspiring reminder that we can always choose to break away from expectations and pursue our own dreams.

In Educated, Westover provides a powerful account of her upbringing and personal growth that will appeal to both readers who are already familiar with her story as well as those who have yet to discover it. This comprehensive book review is designed to explore the different elements of the memoir, analyze the author’s writing style, and discuss how the book has impacted its readers. After reading this guide, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for Tara Westover’s Educated and what it has to offer.

Overview of “Educated”

“Educated” by Tara Westover is a memoir that tells the story of the author’s coming of age. Growing up in rural Idaho, Westover was raised in a fundamentalist family who didn’t officially register her for school and had no connection to mainstream society. Despite the odds, she eventually went on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University, all the while struggling with feelings of shame and alienation from her family.

Themes in the book include the power of education, religious belief systems, the strength of family relationships, and the ability of one person to overcome difficult circumstances. The plot follows Westover’s transformation from an isolated rural upbringing to intellectual exploration and personal growth. Her relationships with her siblings, parents, and extended family members drive much of the narrative, showing the hardships faced by those who are different from their families.

Comparing “Educated” to Similar Books

Tara Westover’s memoir, “Educated,” is a groundbreaking book in the world of autobiography as it follows Westover’s journey from her unconventional, isolated upbringing in Idaho to Harvard and Cambridge. Comparing this work to other books can help readers gain further insight into Westover’s themes, narrative structure, and overall story.

In terms of genre, “Educated” falls somewhere between memoir and biography. Like a memoir, the book is a personal reflection of Westover’s life. However, her life has enough intricate details and events that it could also be classified as a biography. As for one of Westover’s works specifically, “Educated” is similar to her essays in that it focuses on the past, though “Educated” is more comprehensive in its scope.

Comparison to Other Works in the Same Genre:

Through the examination of other memoirs, readers can gain additional context in understanding Westover’s story. A few of the most comparable works are Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Finding My Voice by Valerie Z. Mason-John, and North Country by Howard Shaver. All three books provide a detailed exploration of the authors’ lives, offering insight into their backgrounds, journeys, and the struggles they face. Similarly, Westover’s memoir delves deeply into her own experiences, providing readers with an intimate portrait of her past and present.

Comparison to Westover’s Own Work:

In comparison to Westover’s essays, “Educated” offers a far more comprehensive look at her life. In addition to covering her past, “Educated” also candidly shares her thoughts and feelings in the present. This allows readers to gain an even richer understanding of her experiences and to better connect to the author.

Details on Specific Topics

In “Educated,” Tara Westover explores a variety of topics that provide the reader with a unique and compelling look into her past, present, and future. Westover’s upbringing as a Mormon in rural Idaho allows her to give an honest portrayal of several religious beliefs within her childhood home. The themes of family dynamics, addiction, and identity are also prominent throughout the book.

Westover’s complicated relationship with her father, Gene, is one that many readers can empathize with. His extreme and often abusive behavior is a common theme throughout the book, as he never allows his children to be educated beyond the eighth grade. This neglect drastically impacts Westover’s development; despite the fact that she is clearly intelligent and more than capable of achieving her goals.

The issue of addiction is also a major theme in Westover’s story. Her brother Shawn struggles with substance abuse during most of the book, and his addiction has a powerful effect on both himself and his family members. Westover provides a frank portrayal of the consequences of addiction, both positive and negative.

Lastly, Westover brings up the key point of identity in her book. In order for her to overcome hardships and achieve her goal, she must confront her own preconceived notions of who she is and create an identity that is completely her own, separate from her family and upbringing. The concept of identity is further highlighted when Westover compares herself to other individuals who have had similar upbringings, while still acknowledging her own unique experiences.

Tara Westover has a compelling storytelling technique that will draw in readers and keep them engaged. She takes readers on a journey through her childhood, detailing how she navigated the complexities of her family life and religious beliefs. Her writing style maintains a personal connection with readers as her language is simple and thoughtful.

From the beginning, Westover makes use of imagery to help shape the reader’s experience and understanding of the story. She uses descriptive language to evoke a sense of atmosphere or emotion, giving her story a heightened reality.

Westover also employs narrative structure to keep readers in suspense. By using a nonlinear timeline of events, she reveals small details throughout the story which add up to a larger climax. This creates a sense of anticipation that keeps readers turning the page.

Another important element of Westover’s writing style is her use of symbolism and metaphors. By using imaginative language, Westover allows readers to connect deeper to the themes and ideas presented in the book. She deftly uses symbols to represent the struggles faced by the characters and how they cope with the issues they are facing.

Overall, Westover’s writing style in “Educated” is a powerful tool that captures the reader’s attention and keeps them wanting more. Her vivid imagery, suspenseful storytelling, and use of symbols all make for an engaging and emotional experience.

Reflections on Key Takeaways

In “Educated,” Tara Westover presents a powerful story of courage, determination and self-discovery. Despite her lack of formal education, Westover has an innate gift for learning, which ultimately allows her to defy expectations and break free from the religious-obsessed environment she was raised in. As readers, we can take away valuable lessons from her journey.

One major takeaway is that knowledge is power. By educating herself, Westover was able to seek out new opportunities and make her own choices for her life. This serves as a reminder that learning is essential for personal growth and fulfillment. At the same time, Westover’s story teaches us that learning does not always have to come through formal means. Westover taught herself many of the skills she needed, such as math, from reading books and having conversations with people. This demonstrates that having a curious mind is more important than having access to certain resources or a formal school setting.

Another key takeaway from the book is the importance of familial bonds. Despite their differences, Westover learned how to appreciate her family and build a meaningful relationship with them. This serves as a reminder that even when disagreements arise, we should strive to maintain our relationships with our loved ones. Even in difficult times, it is possible to find common ground and come together.

Finally, Westover’s courage in the face of adversity teaches us to never give up. Despite the obstacles Westover faced, she never let go of her dream. This encourages us to stay true to ourselves and continue pushing forward, no matter how difficult the journey may be.

These key takeaways from “Educated” remind us of the power of knowledge, the strength of familial bonds, and the importance of courage.

Interesting Quotes From the Book:

Tara Westover’s “Educated” is a powerful story of personal growth and transformation. Through her journey, Westover shares poignant moments of her life through meaningful quotes that bring her story to life. Here are some of the most inspiring quotes from “Educated” that resonated with the author:

  • “My parents had been born in another time. I had been born in this one.”
  • “There is no kindness without vulnerability.”
  • “Losing faith is easy; gaining it is hard, like becoming strong. Not just believing what you’re told, but earning what you believe.”
  • “You can still love someone and set boundaries”
  • “We can be bound together, even if we are not altogether bound to each other.”

These quotes reflect Westover’s growth and journey through learning, exploration, and understanding of the world outside her family’s beliefs and lifestyle. They provide a powerful reminder of the importance of education and being open to different ideas.

What the Critics Are Saying

Tara Westover’s debut memoir, “Educated,” has received praise and admiration from both readers and critics alike. The book has earned multiple best-seller lists including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as being selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Critics have commended Westover for her honest account of growing up in a fundamentalist Mormon family and her ability to reflect on her upbringing with a strong sense of introspection.

The New York Times hailed the book as “…a heartbreaking breakthrough, written with such deep-felt empathy that it will be difficult to forget.” Similarly, the LA Times noted Westover’s writing style as “eloquent and intimate,” while the Washington Post praised the “heart-breaking” story of “’Educated’ and the transcendent power of a proper education.”

With numerous positive reviews, “Educated” has had an impact with readers, inspiring them to pick up the book and learn more about Tara Westover and her unique story.

Impact “Educated” Had on the Author

Tara Westover’s memoir “Educated” offers readers an honest and eye-opening look into her unique upbringing. The book centres around her journey as she transitions from rural Idaho and family life in an extreme religious sect to pursuing an education at Cambridge. Through Westover’s personal story, readers gain insight into the cult-like beliefs, abuse, and trauma that were a significant part of her upbringing.

For many readers, “Educated” has been an enlightening and inspiring read. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of education and determination. The book helps readers understand that regardless of their upbringing, they can achieve things beyond what they originally thought possible. By taking control of her own life and making every effort to empower herself, Westover provides a powerful example for others to follow.

In “Educated,” Westover also shares her struggles with reconciling the trauma of her childhood and understanding how her beliefs have been shaped by her past experiences. This aspect of the book is especially poignant for those who may be in a similar situation or have encountered similar types of abuse. For these readers, Westover’s story serves as a source of encouragement and strength. It gives them hope that they too can overcome their past and move forward.

Ultimately, the impact “Educated” has had on its readers is something that cannot be understated. Through her story, Westover has been able to give voice to those who have experienced similar trauma and provide them with the tools to move beyond it.

Positives/Negatives About “Educated”

In this section, the reader will get an objective assessment of “Educated” by Tara Westover. The book has had a tremendous impact on many readers, and it is packed with plenty of positives and few negatives.

One of the major positives of “Educated” is that its writing style is captivating and engrossing. Westover’s storytelling style is interesting and engaging, able to keep the reader drawn in until the very end. She is also very effective in making the reader feel like they are right there with her throughout her journey.

The author uses powerful themes to carry the story forward. These powerful themes include resilience, personal growth, and family loyalty. These are explored in great detail, giving readers an insight into the struggles of growing up in an unconventional family.

Another positive feature of “Educated” is that it is well-researched and informative. Westover puts a lot of effort into researching her subject matter before diving in. This allows her to provide readers with a lot of factual information about different topics related to her story.

On the negative side, some readers may find the story a bit too depressing. Westover takes the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions as she experiences success and failure. While this may be seen by some as helping the reader to live vicariously through the story, others may find it overwhelming.

Wrapping Up

Tara Westover’s “Educated” has undeniably touched the hearts and minds of countless readers from all walks of life. From its insightful look at religious beliefs and family dynamics to its powerful story of perseverance, the book has inspired readers to strive for greater knowledge and introspection. Its honest narrative allows readers to confront difficult questions and seek the answers that are best for them.

The message of “Educated” can be seen as a call to action; an urging to seek education and truth and free oneself from societal constraints. Despite its hard-hitting topics, “Educated” is ultimately an uplifting story about discovering one’s worth and potential. Ultimately, readers will walk away with renewed motivation and fresh insight into the importance of self-growth and courage.

It is clear that “Educated” by Tara Westover is a book to read, think about, and reflect on. The lessons it teaches, the experiences it shares, and the writing style of the author make this book one that will have a lasting impact on its readers.


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