Educated: A Memoir


Raised at the base of an Idaho mountain by parents deeply suspicious of any outside authority, Tara Westover never visited a doctor or sat in a classroom. She spent her days assisting her mother with home births, working in her father’s dangerous scrap metal yard, and canning food for the apocalypse. Eventually, she began teaching herself, with the goal of passing her high school exams. But as she began to question her father’s religious zeal and the reasons for her family’s isolation, she faced scorn, accusations, and violent abuse.

As she struck out on her own — first to Utah for college and then overseas to England — she discovered both the boundlessness of the world and the constricting hold of her family’s secrets.

Trigger warning for child neglect and domestic abuse.

“I had been educated in the rhythms of the mountain, rhythms in which change was never fundamental, only cyclical. The same sun appeared each morning, swept over the valley and dropped behind the peak. The snows that fell in winter always melted in the spring. Our lives were a cycle — the cycle of the day, the cycle of the seasons — circles of perpetual change that, when complete, meant nothing had changed at all. I believed my family was a part of this immortal pattern, that we were, in some sense, eternal. But eternity belonged only to the mountain.”

Tara Westover is an American author. Born in Idaho, she has studied at Brigham Young University; Trinity College, Cambridge; and Harvard University. Educated is her first book.

Published: 2018
Length: 334 pages
Main Setting: Buck Peak, Idaho, U.S.
Secondary Settings:
Provo, Utah, U.S.; Cambridge, England, U.K