Educated | Book Review

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By: Tara Westover

Standalone | 352 Pages | Pub. 2018

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Rating: ★★★★


This is a hard review to write. I have a lot of feelings about this book so I’m going to do another bullet point-ish review. This isn’t a live stream of my notes, because I listened to the audio and didn’t take them. It’s my feelings after finishing and reflecting a bit. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

For some background, I am not, nor have I ever been a part of the Later Day Saints; however, I have family members, friends, and exes who are currently a part of and have left the religion. I have spent quite a bit of time around the Mormon community where I grew up, so I didn’t go into this ignorant of that world.


  • Their location in Idaho sounds amazing! It’s gorgeous up there and I’m a little jealous of Buck’s Peak.
  • I know people live off the grid, but not bothering to get a birth certificate?! You would have to stay off the grid your entire life? I’m glad that the kids all decided that they wanted one eventually. Also, it’s really weird to get them for the first few children and not the rest…
  • It’s incredibly difficult for me to understand why they will rush babies to the hospital, but not anyone else? Why are you allowed to use science on a baby and not an adult or child?
  • While I have admiration for their faith and resolve, I struggled to understand the concept of science and medicine being evil. If you believe in a god, didn’t he provide humankind with the knowledge to heal ourselves in this manner? I just… this was a hard thing for me to wrap my head around.
  • I really hope that this book doesn’t make readers think that all LDS live like this. Yes, they live by a stricter code, but what is shown in this book is EXTREME by any standards.
  • In fact everything in this book is extreme. It was exhausting to listen to at points because it’s borderline unbelievable. This is not a bad thing, it just means that I had to take breaks.
  • There are no words for how impressed I am by Tara, Tyler and Richard going from the mountain to PhDs. This is especially true for Tyler, who led the charge and had to go first.
  • The way that religion is not used as an example, but as a tool to keep children in line sickened me. Faith should be a beautiful thing, not a weapon and not an excuse. This is the opposite of love, the opposite of its purpose.
  • While her father’s bi-polar is undiagnosed or Tara-diagnosed, it’s clear that he likely has some type of mental disorder. I appreciate that she wanted to find a reason for his behavior, but I’m not sure that reading about something and making an armchair diagnoses and putting it into a book is the right way to do that. Her mother “confirming” it is not a real confirmation as there is no way he went and received a real diagnosis from a doctor.
  • The same goes for her brother Shawn. He is an obvious danger to not only the family, but society. We CANNOT as a society allow for abusers to unpunished. I’m incredibly disgusted by every person who continues to stick up for him and shove his offenses under the rug. People rarely stop committing these offenses and generally it is a cycle. I couldn’t find statistics on re-offenders in a quick search, so I don’t want to say that this is 100%. This is just my experience and what I have witnessed.

I have to call this review quits now because I’m getting angry all over again. This book is much darker than I expected, but it reveals an extreme version of what goes on in many homes. I hope that more people can fight for themselves like Tara.

“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.”

Have you read Educated? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


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