During the 2019 summer I was so fortunate to receive 18 books (as a surprise!) from dear friends of mine ❤ Fiction stories, memoirs, personal development books – a wonderful mix that will keep me busy (at least) for the rest of the year. One of these books was “Educated” by Tara Westover, an incredible story that immediately caught my attention.

Educated in a nutshell

“Educated” is the memoir of Tara Westover, who was born in a radical Mormon family in Idaho. So radical was the family that their children did not have a birth certificate, they were not enrolled in school, going to a hospital was out of question, and the list goes on. Westover recounts her childhood and youth, sharing deeply personal stories and feelings about her journey from preparing for the End of Days to studying at Cambridge and Harvard.

Overall impression

I enjoyed a lot reading the book, devouring the almost 400 pages in just few days. Westover is one of the examples showing that “where there’s a will, there’s a way” – she fought to escape from her family’s beliefs and achieved impressive academic results. Some scenes were so unreal, filled with violence and hatred, that I had to remind myself from time to time that I’m reading a memoir and not a fiction book. Below I detail about what I consider the three leitmotifs of the book: family, education, and memories.


Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family it is unhappy in its own way” – this well-known quote by Tolstoy came to my mind while reading the final part of the book. In this family there are many “unhappiness” sources, from psychological trauma to troubled beliefs, isolation, and even potential psychological diseases.


Westover’s story showcases that academic performance can be achieved despite lack of encouragement and support from family. However, support is highly needed from others (e.g. professors, friends) in order to surpass the emotional and financial barriers. The story also showcases that education is eye-opening. EDUCATION IS EYE-OPENING.

tara westover keynotes ksquaredcreative
Visual summary of a speech delivered by Tara Westover. Image from K-SquaredCreative.com


The approach taken by Westover when she explained certain happenings, by mentioning multiple points of view from different people, reminded me of “The Book of Mirrors” by Chirovici. Memories cannot be fully trusted, as everyone has its own version of truth and remembers events as seen through their own biased glasses.


To conclude, I recommend reading “Educated” with all my heart. Westover teaches a lesson of courage and will, from fighting against her social context to bravely sharing her story to the wide world.

Do you enjoy reading memoirs? What memoir had the biggest impact on you, and why? Looking forward to reading your answers!

If you would like to buy books or other (non)bookish things, please consider using one of these links: Amazon | Waterstones | Carturesti. Thank you!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


Cover picture: Amazon.com | K-SquaredCreative.com

3 thoughts on “Educated by Tara Westover (book review) – a story of will and family tangles

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