Educated is the extraordinary memoir of 31-year-old Tara Westover who entered formal education for the first time at the age of 17 at university level. Tara was from a family of Mormons whose father held radical beliefs and isolated his children from the mainstream world to the extent that schools and doctors visits were forbidden. Tara believes her father suffered from mental health issues and she decided to change the course of her life when she was a teenager.
“When I was 16 I decided to try and educate myself and I taught myself enough mathematics and grammar to sneak into a university. I was 17 the first time I set foot in a classroom and that’s when my worldview began to shift… One of my early lectures that I went to, I raised my hand and asked what the holocaust was because I had never heard of it and of course I think everyone in the class was a little bit horrified.”
Tara said that discovering her own ignorance as she put it spurred her on in her quest for knowledge. It was initially a slow and challenging process and she was resistant at first to both the system and to her classmates.
“Almost everything about them to me seemed licentious and not ok, so in a lot of ways I continued isolating myself for quite some time.”
Tara managed to break down the barriers between herself and her new life and progressed so well that incredibly, after graduating from a Mormon university, she earned degrees from Harvard and Cambridge. Tara has become estranged from her parents and some of her siblings due to her changed beliefs and while she feels sad about this, she says she tries to dwell on the positive when she thinks about them.
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