Dear Educated by Tara Westover,
You are one of the most hyped books I’ve read in a while. Not only did you appear on countless must-read lists, but you were also recommended to me by numerous bookworms online and friends in person. At first I was quite skeptical, I must admit. How good could you actually be? I had fallen for hype many times before and been disappointed. I avoided reading you for along time, but then I saw an audiobook version of you on Libby and I couldn’t resist finding out what all the buzz surrounding you was about.
Immediately I understood why you were so hyped–you deserve it.
Right out of the gate I was gripped by your incredibly well-written storytelling. You are captivating and told in a logical way that is easy to follow, which struck me as quite rare for a memoir. Obviously one can’t help how events unfold in one’s life, so it’s not often that memoirs are told with such logical narrative flow.
It’s hard for me to put into words precisely how I feel about you as a memoir as well as Tara Westover’s life story, so I’ve taken to using a string of adjectives. Shocking. Powerful. Striking. Unsettling. Disturbing. Haunting. Lingering. Saddening. Heart-wrenching.
“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”Educated by Tara Westover
I so appreciate Westover’s brutal honesty while writing you. I can’t even begin to fathom how difficult this must have been to write. I thought it was really brave of Westover to include so many moments where she later regretted her actions or wished she had stepped in and helped when she hadn’t. She recounts personal ups and downs throughout this memoir that reflects her own growth, and that depth, honesty, and willingness to be forthcoming is so impressive and appreciated here.
The context of this memoir–Westover’s life growing up on the mountain, attending an educational institution for the first time, and ultimately studying at Cambridge and beyond–is also a sort of feat in and of itself. What strikes me about you as a memoir is its importance and relevance in our current societal moment. It is important to understand differences between religious beliefs in society, how we coexist with those who have different beliefs, and how we work to remove ourselves from situations that are toxic, dangerous, or unhealthy. Westover emphasizes the importance of compromising when you can, but also of knowing when to leave for your own well-being. This can be such a hard decision to make, but it is an incredibly important one.
“‘You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,’ she said. ‘You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.’”Educated by Tara Westover
So, Educated, did you prove me wrong? Indeed. You were absolutely worth the massive hype. I would recommend you to anyone looking for a captivating, striking, unsettling, inspiring memoir.