Updated: Mar 29, 2020
I am a strong believer in putting good intentions into the universe and you will get what you are looking for. Just like the saying goes, that people come into your life for a reason, I strongly believe books do as well. Reading certain books, at the right time, can invoke powerful feelings. I felt that when I read Educated. If I had read this book five years ago, it would not have made the impression it currently made on me. Reason being, the past few years I have been focusing on personal development and working through my own demons and issues. This book spoke to me in so many ways and I was able to fully connect with the author and her story. I added it to my library request list months ago, because the synopsis intrigued me and I tend to go for hyped books. I absolutely loved The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and I imagined that Educated was going to be similar. Both are memoirs written by women who overcame tremendous obstacles in their youth and are now strong, successful women. What I did not expect, was how much I emotional connected with Tara Westover's story.
Educated is much more than a memoir about Tara Westover's childhood, growing up in rural Idaho with a survivalist/sovereign citizen father who did not believe in the government or public education, only to ultimately get into college and obtain her PhD. Educated is also a haunting story of emotional and physical abuse and how the effects last long after childhood. Reading the excerpts from her diary felt like I was reading my own childhood diaries, to the extent that even one of the insulting names she recalls being called as a child [wench] is the exact same name I remember being called and still haunts me to this day. I too suffered from emotional abuse, though not to the extent that Tara Westover experienced. Reading her story invoked all of the emotions I felt. Like Tara, I did not deal with any of my past abuse until I was an adult. It took having children of my own to realize what I had always thought was "normal" was not and that all the friends and mentors I had throughout my life were trying to warn me and help me realize this truth. Like Tara, I started therapy as an adult and started working through suppressed memories and feelings. Like her, I also used third parties to verify and confirm memories, because over time my memories have either been buried deep or have morphed and changed. I question what memories are real and what were contrived in my mind.
So much of Tara's journey spoke to me. Reading it, I honestly felt like I was meant to read it at this time in my life. All of this is very hard for me to talk about. If you had told me years ago, I would admit that I suffer from depression and anxiety, I would have told you that you were insane. As part of my journey, I make it a point to confide in my close friends, and find comfort and guidance from them, and to share my experiences with others. I remember feeling alone with my feelings, just as Tara did, but there are so many people that have experienced the thoughts and feelings you have, they just don't vocalize it. I am a huge advocate for mental health because I have first hand experience with how beneficial therapy can be.
All I can say is how incredible Tara Westover is and how insanely brave she was for being so authentic and sharing her story. As I read it, all I could imagine was how upset she most likely made some of her family, but how necessary it was for her to tell her story. She is so brave and inspirational. Some parts of Educated were hard to read and very triggering if you have experienced neglect, physical, and/or emotional abuse. It is hard to believe what Tara Westover went through and how she overcame all of the obstacles that were working against her.
I cannot express how much I loved and appreciated this book. I give it a solid ★★★★★ and will recommend it to anyone who lets me chat their ears off about books. If you enjoy Educated, I also highly recommend you read The Glass Castle, which is another incredible memoir.