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Educated: A Memoir

di Tara Westover

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
7,0384121,088 (4.31)395
Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.… (altro)
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» Vedi le 395 citazioni

Inglese (400)  Olandese (3)  Tedesco (2)  Catalano (2)  Spagnolo (1)  Francese (1)  Danese (1)  Norvegese (1)  Tutte le lingue (411)
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I think it's important to know that Educated isn't an indictment of Mormonism but of patriarchal systems that occur not only in conservative Christianity but in liberalism and atheism as well. There is no belief system I'm aware of that is entirely free of men who hear their own voice and think it's God's. It's also the story of the tragedy of untreated mental illness. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
Another memoir. An extraordinary life so far (it is contemporary), one which I thought on first reading could not be possible, but then remembered the news reports that continue to come out of the USA.

The main protagonist, Tara, is one the younger (if not the youngest) of a large family, the younger of 2 sisters, brought up in a Mormon tradition, though one which is at one extreme. Home schooled, though more home than schooled, but Tara and 2 of her siblings are allowed to pursue further education. In the case of Tara, it is a remarkable revelation, with academic success and scholarships taking her from Idaho to Utah, Cambridge and Harvard.

Her father in particular was of the view that doctors, hospitals, public schools and governments (amongst other institutions) were not to trusted and took active steps to prepare the family for the End of Days, by preparing their extended property for self sufficiency, by hoarding supplies (food, water, guns, ammunition amongst others).

Tara, and her siblings, were poorly educated. This is revealed during her first period at University, when asking the lecturer as to the meaning of a particular term that was used that referenced probably one of, if not, the most significant historical event of the 20th century. Even her friends did not believe that Tara had not heard of it and questioned why she was making such an insensitive comment by asking for an explanation as to the term.

Tara's family suffered horrific injuries whilst they worked in dangerous tasks within the family business. Made worse when any treatments for the injuries were restricted to herbal remedies and faith based beliefs.

It reminds me of one of my teachers (a long time ago now) who was evangelical in belief and who explained that when he was late driving his family to school drop-offs, would when approaching an intersection and a red light, he would close his eyes, proclaim "God is good!" and drive through, against the red stop signs!

Tara suffered experienced terrible physical and other abuse from one of her siblings, as did at least one other sibling. And it became apparent that others in her family who should have protected her was aware of this, if not before it started, certainly before Tara removed herself from that situation. But it came at the cost of Tara (and some of her siblings) becoming estranged from much her immediate and extended family, in some cases, as a result of the active steps taken by her parents, who had a strong influence over the family members.

Tara makes explicit that her issue is not with Mormonism as such. Indeed one of her mentors and supporters was the religious leader of her first University. And as some members of the family have different recollections as to key events in the life of the family, Tara highlights those differences and does not say more than she is putting forward her recollections, and cannot explain the discrepancies.

I am a sucker for memoirs. I am fascinated to hear of people's lives and experiences.

But this memoir brings home to me my somewhat sheltered life experience. That Tara is (according to wiki at the time of writing this) is only 35 yo brings home to me that the world is still a strange place and how privileged I am to experience the life that I do.

In one sense an uplifting story of success (if one can overcome the despair of the early years of not only Tara but her wider family) but also a reminder that the USA is still a place of widely different experiences, and not reflected in the movies and TV shows, nor seen in the NYs or California s that one might visit on a holiday or for work.

And it raises for me the question as to whether Australia (my home) has it own equivalents.

Big Ship

16 June 2022 ( )
  bigship | Jun 16, 2022 |
Incredibly gripping and expertly told, Tara Westover's memoir of living in rural Idaho had me reading at break-neck speed. The way Westover organizes her chapters makes the book nearly impossible to put down. One chapter opens with scenes from a car wreck in which her mother, never hospitalized, suffers a traumatic brain injury. The rest of the chapter is spent revealing the fateful events leading up to the car crash.

Westover spends her youth barely surviving all kinds of scrapes and accidents while scrapping metal for her father. Her fundamentalist-Mormon family eschews grade school education in favor of a survivalist "education" at home. When Westover finally makes it to college, her painful naiveté is on full display and made me feel deeply grateful for the privilege of having a basic education. Can you imagine being a young adult in a college classroom and having no prior knowledge of segregation, Jim Crow...the Holocaust? This is a must-read. ( )
  MC_Rolon | Jun 15, 2022 |
Tara Westover has an incredible story to tell. To be clear, I do not think this book is a critique of the Church of Latter Day Saints and their beliefs. While Tara's family identified as Mormon and attended the local church, it was clear from the very beginning that her father was extreme and fanatical - in a way that differed from their extended family, their Idaho community, and Mormon practice more generally. In an early chapter, Dr. Westover discusses an incident where grandma-down-the-hill offers to take Tara to Arizona and put her in school. So, first and foremost, it seems clear that Tara's father has developed his own beliefs that are literal interpretation of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other religious texts. His disregard for all worldly things- including refusing to have a telephone in 1990 - and commitment to preparing for the end-of-days (which was going to be Y2K). clearly set him apart.

So, Dr. Westover's memoir is really a much more personal story. She discusses the trauma she enduring being raised in this very unstable family. Some examples. She and her siblings worked rather than go to school. Her father would give them incredibly dangerous jobs and many accidents ensued. None of the accidents affected any change in his behavior. One son end up setting his leg on fire resulting in serious burns. Another son falls from a height and is severely injured. But nothing changes in the set of tasks or manner of completion. No helmets. No safety harnesses. The first major car accident that caused her mother brain damage did nothing to change the fact that they drove without seatbelts, left the car uninsured, and refused hospital treatment for life-threatening injuries. It seems clear that her father had some mental illness. But how can you explain the behavior of her mother? Brain washing? A companion mental illness?

I admire Dr. Westover for sharing this memoir. I think that her reflections on memory and history are incredibly important. And I can imagine that having this account written, read, and acknowledged can serve as an anchor for her own reality. ( )
  sbecon | Jun 13, 2022 |
The book itself is well written, but the life it tells about is extraordinary. You cannot find stories like this in fiction, because no storyteller would invent such a story. ( )
  timoroso | Jun 3, 2022 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (17 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Westover, Taraautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Brice, SilvijaTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Svensson, PatrikProgetto della copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Whelan, JuliaNarratoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato

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The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, & thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. - Virginia Woolf
I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing. - John Dewey
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...I had finally begun to grasp something that should have been immediately apparent: that someone had opposed the great march toward equality; someone had been the person from whom freedom had been wrested. (p. 180)
...something shifted nonetheless. I had started on a path of awareness, had perceived something elemental about my brother, my father, myself. I had discerned the ways in which we had been sculpted by a tradition given to us by others, a tradition of which we were either willfully or accidentally ignorant. I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse who sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others--because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward. (p. 180)
I had decided to study no history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I'd felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought that if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history of most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught. Dad could be wrong, and the great historians Carlyle and Macauley and Trevelyan could be wrong, but from the ashes of their dispute I could construct a world to live in. In knowing the ground was not ground at all, I hoped I could stand on it. (p. 238)
It's strange how you give the people you love so much power over you, I had written in my journal. ... He had defined me to myself, and there's no greater power than that. (p. 199)
I had been taught to read the words of men like Madison as a cast into which I ought to pour the plaster of my own mind, to be reshaped according to the contours of their faultless model. I read them to learn what to think, not how to think for myself. (p. 239)
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Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

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