A book about almost everything
This is not a book about Mormonism. This is not a book about extreme American life. This is not a book about living in a dysfunctional family. This is not a book about facing mental and physical violence and economic dependence. This is a book about a young woman who got over all these things, who became educated and made her new life − a book about almost everything.
„Educated” is a memoir by Tara Westover, a young American scientist. She was the youngest of seven children in an isolated family in Idaho. The kids didn’t have birth certificates and didn’t go to school. You can’t be a person without a birthday,said her grandmother, but Tara’s parents didn’t see the problem in living behind the modern world. Tara considered her family as a pack of wolves,or human beings who roam the mountain like savages because they were separated from civilization.
Dad always worked from sunup until sundown, but he failed his most important job: raising his children. He wasn’t always so panicked; as a young man, he was pretty normal, but then came mental illness, primarily bipolar disorder, and everything went wrong. Mum was a midwife and pleaser, as Tara says, and she was completely dependent on her husband. Then came the accident when she got raccoon eyes and the last hope of her being functional disappeared. In the house, they didn’t pay attention to hygiene; they believed they had fallen or injured themselves because God wanted them to do that, and they’d never learned how to talk to people who weren’t like them. People who went to school and visited the doctor.
The path of independence
Tara spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating supplies, but she sensed that behind the mountain there was some other life for her. One who showed her that she could live in a different way was her brother, Tyler. She says: I was as rowdy as any of my brothers, but when I was with Tyler, I transformed. Tyler had been my lifeline.
Moved by Tyler’s decisions, she decided to leave the family, if that group of people could be called like that. Her goal was education, but with time she realised that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing. The choices she made were the right for her, but the process of becoming independent wasn’t easy.
She was determined by her upbringing and the words of her parents. She was constantly thinking about if she was not the daugthter they had raised, the daugther of faith. She worried that she might be growing into the wrong sort of women. There were a lot of questions: What if Dad’s right? What if I get brainwashed? She couldn’t cast off the influence her father had on her.
More lost than anyone else
She believed she was completely without perspective. I wasn’t the only one who was lost, but I was more lost than anyone else. But she succeeded in believing she was strong, to believe in herself despite everything. She found strength: the courage to live in her own mind and not in someone else’s. And that was the result of education.
In the end, she got knowledge, experienced everything she wanted, and found herself: Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind.
This is not a book about Mormonism. This is not a book about extreme American life. This is not a book about living in a disfunctional family. This is not a book about facing mental and physical violence and economic dependence. This is a book about a young woman who got over all these things, who became educated and made her new life − a book about almost everything.