An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue
This is the story
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”
—The New York Times Book Review
" A heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life."
“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”
―O: The Oprah Magazine
“Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind. . . . In briskly paced prose, she evokes a childhood that completely defined her.”
“Riveting . . . Westover brings readers deep into this world, a milieu usually hidden from outsiders. . . . Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests.”
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Tara Westover is an American historian and author. She is known for her bestselling 2018 book Educated: A Memoir.