It is usual to see book lovers raving in awe of a literary masterpiece. Just the same, there happens to be another lot that often struggles with voicing their inner euphoria triggered by a good book. It seems sometimes, the more you love a book, the less likely you are to endorse it with an apt vocabulary. I happen to belong to the latter lot as I fumble with excitement every now and when I chance upon a remarkable work. Having said that book review Educated by Tara Westover should ideally be a passionate tongue-twisting Twitter post. But since I enjoyed it so much, I have tried to recapture my experience with a book that is now officially, one of my all-time favorites. The two-liner brief at the end of the book is simply insufficient in revealing its true character and craft with which the author has ingeniously built her world from before.
Tara Westover’s Educated Book Review-a journey & its price!
Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir that chronicles a young woman’s arduous journey of gaining formal education going against her fundamentalist Mormon family. Tara is the youngest of seven siblings raised under an orthodox, maniac father (Gene) who literally spends his days preparing for End of Days, prohibits dairy, denies schooling, suspects government agencies, and condemns western medicine. Her mother Faye relies on Gene though with some independence by working as an unlicensed midwife bringing in the much-needed cash. Her homemade essential oil remedy business allows her to live beyond Gene’s control. Faye’s tacit demeanor towards her husband’s hardliner conduct institutes her as an accessory to their dysfunctional family system. Westover’s children inherit the wilderness of rural Idaho that reflects in Gene’s rogue ways of handling his children. Tara’s elder brothers Richard and Luke adhere to the Mormon belief and ain’t much bothered by their parents’ governing style. Tyler is the only person in whom Tara confides (not completely though) as he encourages her to pursue higher education but soon moves out to join college. Her brother Shawn is an unpredictable bully whose mood swings take him from severe physical abuse (meted out to Tara) to loud, emotionally hollow apologies thereafter. Fear, confusion, and extreme behavior amid physical hardships of working with the scrap is a routine at Westover’s; much like the debilitating injuries, the family suffers because of Gene’s denial of practically everything that demands precaution, reasoning, or careful maneuvering of equipment. Gene’s dangerously naive simplicity remains infallible to the complexities of a world outside his faith so much so that he prefers his children to die rather than receiving an ounce of western medicine. Educated witnesses Tara battling superstition, mania, and social isolation on her way to transform herself into a free, independent, educated woman.
Despite the usual suspects, Educated travels beyond the story of human resilience and self-preservation. It arrives in the reader’s mind as a startling revelation of a way of life in remote lands unfathomable to even its American counterparts. Beating myths and temptations resonating with the abundant, accomplished identity of the United States, Educated conjures a world that exists at the periphery of a modern household living an American dream; sublimely shattering the image of a sophisticated, rational American society. However, the book desires neither to weave a hegemonic reality out rightly distorting perceptive faculties of vulnerable age groups nor does it intend to wither the fabric of faith that has cloaked the author’s family from outside influence. That implication is incidental of fine writing flowing out of an open heart and mind.
By piecing and placing memories of navigating through a family consumed with delusion and dogma, Educated depicts the fragile inner world of a teenager susceptible to form lifelong impressions of a world to be feared and dreaded. The memoir’s gripping narrative built up using the show-not-tell technique blended with episodic writing style acutely exposes a dysfunctional family from the inside out. Educated works at all depths into rejuvenating readers’ sensibilities with its rich emotional and intellectual quotient. Life beyond the Westover’s is both exciting and scary. Even after leaving Idaho, she carries home deep in her skin. Exploring new definitions of femininity or confronting her embarrassingly unhygienic lifestyle, the novel peeps into Tara’s fuzzy mind embracing new standards while still clinging to the old ones. One can not help but feel for the author’s intense yearning to belong to a family that blatantly refuses her worldview, offers conditional love, and questions her sanity all along. The book review Educated by Tara Westover presents an inquiry into family’s existence in one’s life as an almost immalleable yet everlastingly influential structure shaping the destinies of its children. In the end, the memoir sees the author moving on from confining notions of her previous life by choosing not to negotiate further with her family. Tara Westover’s Educated tells the heart-warming story of a woman paying a hefty price of choosing education over her family. I recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for a bone-deep-inspiration reading and even finer writing.
“The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”
“An education is not so much about making a living as making a person.”
I would never again be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand.”