Educated: online sale online sale A Memoir online sale

Educated: online sale online sale A Memoir online sale

Educated: online sale online sale A Memoir online sale
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Educated: online sale online sale A Memoir online sale__below

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
 
“Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention.”—The New York Times
 
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize
 
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.
 
“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [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

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington PostO: The Oprah MagazineTime • NPR • Good Morning AmericaSan Francisco ChronicleThe GuardianThe Economist Financial Times NewsdayNew York PosttheSkimmRefinery29BloombergSelfReal SimpleTown & CountryBustlePastePublishers Weekly Library JournalLibraryReadsBook Riot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

Review

“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

“Westover is a keen and honest guide to the difficulties of filial love, and to the enchantment of embracing a life of the mind.” The New Yorker

“An amazing story, and truly inspiring. It’s even better than you’ve heard.” —Bill Gates

“Heart-wrenching . . . a beautiful testament to the power of education to open eyes and change lives.” —Amy Chua, The New York Times Book Review

“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. Yet it was also, she gradually sensed, deforming her.” The Atlantic

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable. Her new book, Educated, is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life. . . . ★★★★ out of four.” USA Today

“[ Educated] left me speechless with wonder. [Westover’s] lyrical prose is mesmerizing, as is her personal story, growing up in a family in which girls were supposed to aspire only to become wives—and in which coveting an education was considered sinful. Her journey will surprise and inspire men and women alike.” Refinery29

“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.” —The Economist

“A subtle, nuanced study of how dysfunction of any kind can be normalized even within the most conventional family structure, and of the damage such containment can do.” Financial Times

“Whether narrating scenes of fury and violence or evoking rural landscapes or tortured self-analysis, Westover writes with uncommon intelligence and grace. . . . One of the most improbable and fascinating journeys I’ve read in recent years.” —Newsday

About the Author

Tara Westover was born in Idaho in 1986. She received her BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Educated is her first book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue


I’m standing on the red railway car that sits abandoned next to the barn. The wind soars, whipping my hair across my face and pushing a chill down the open neck of my shirt. The gales are strong this close to the mountain, as if the peak itself is exhaling. Down below, the valley is peaceful, undisturbed. Meanwhile our farm dances: the heavy conifer trees sway slowly, while the sagebrush and thistles quiver, bowing before every puff and pocket of air. Behind me a gentle hill slopes upward and stitches itself to the mountain base. If I look up, I can see the dark form of the Indian Princess.
 
The hill is paved with wild wheat. If the conifers and sagebrush are soloists, the wheat field is a corps de ballet, each stem following all the rest in bursts of movement, a million ballerinas bending, one after the other, as great gales dent their golden heads. The shape of that dent lasts only a moment, and is as close as anyone gets to seeing wind.
 
Turning toward our house on the hillside, I see movements of a different kind, tall shadows stiffly pushing through the currents. My brothers are awake, testing the weather. I imagine my mother at the stove, hovering over bran pancakes. I picture my father hunched by the back door, lacing his steel-toed boots and threading his callused hands into welding gloves. On the highway below, the school bus rolls past without stopping.
 
I am only seven, but I understand that it is this fact, more than any other, that makes my family different: we don’t go to school.
 
Dad worries that the Government will force us to go but it can’t, because it doesn’t know about us. Four of my parents’ seven children don’t have birth certificates. We have no medical records because we were born at home and have never seen a doctor or nurse.*  We have no school records because we’ve never set foot in a classroom. When I am nine, I will be issued a Delayed Certificate of Birth, but at this moment, according to the state of Idaho and the federal government, I do not exist.
 
Of course I did exist. I had grown up preparing for the Days of Abomination, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. I spent my summers bottling peaches and my winters rotating supplies. When the World of Men failed, my family would continue on, unaffected.
 
I had been educated in the rhythms of the mountain, rhythms in which change was never fundamental, only cyclical. The same sun appeared each morning, swept over the valley and dropped behind the peak. The snows that fell in winter always melted in the spring. Our lives were a cycle—the cycle of the day, the cycle of the seasons—circles of perpetual change that, when complete, meant nothing had changed at all. I believed my family was a part of this immortal pattern, that we were, in some sense, eternal. But eternity belonged only to the mountain.
 
There’s a story my father used to tell about the peak. She was a grand old thing, a cathedral of a mountain. The range had other mountains, taller, more imposing, but Buck’s Peak was the most finely crafted. Its base spanned a mile, its dark form swelling out of the earth and rising into a flawless spire. From a distance, you could see the impression of a woman’s body on the mountain face: her legs formed of huge ravines, her hair a spray of pines fanning over the northern ridge. Her stance was commanding, one leg thrust forward in a powerful movement, more stride than step.
 
My father called her the Indian Princess. She emerged each year when the snows began to melt, facing south, watching the buffalo return to the valley. Dad said the nomadic Indians had watched for her appearance as a sign of spring, a signal the mountain was thawing, winter was over, and it was time to come home.
 

All my father’s stories were about our mountain, our valley, our jagged little patch of Idaho. He never told me what to do if I left the mountain, if I crossed oceans and continents and found myself in strange terrain, where I could no longer search the horizon for the Princess. He never told me how I’d know when it was time to come home.

 

*Except for my sister Audrey, who broke both an arm and a leg when she was young. She was 
taken to get a cast.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
56,686 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Drew Mecham
5.0 out of 5 stars
Overcoming the gaslighting
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2018
In the interest of full disclosure, I''m the Drew from this book, and although Tara and I are no longer together I’ve met all of the key figures in this book on many occasions. Although I don’t have as intimate a knowledge of growing up in the Westover family as a sibling... See more
In the interest of full disclosure, I''m the Drew from this book, and although Tara and I are no longer together I’ve met all of the key figures in this book on many occasions. Although I don’t have as intimate a knowledge of growing up in the Westover family as a sibling would, I observed first hand everything Tara describes in the third part of the book and heard many stories about earlier events, not just from Tara, but from siblings, cousins, and her parents themselves. I find the claims of factual inaccuracy that have come up among these reviews to be strange for two reasons. First, in a post-James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces”) world, publishers are incredibly careful with memoirs and “Educated” was extensively fact checked before publication. Second, no one claiming factual inaccuracy can do so with any precision. While every Westover sibling, as well as their neighbors and friends, will have different perspectives and different memories, it is very difficult to dispute the core facts of this book. “Educated” is about abuse, and the way in which both abusers and their enablers distort reality for the victims. It’s about the importance of gaining your own understanding of the world so you’re not dependent on the narratives imposed on you by others. I’ve heard Tara’s parents attack schools and universities, doctors and modern medicine, but more importantly, I’ve seen her parents work tirelessly to create a world where Shawn’s abuse was minimized or denied outright. I’ve seen them try to create a world where Tara was insane or possessed in order to protect a violent and unstable brother. I was with her in Cambridge when Shawn was calling with death threats, then saw her mother completely trivialize the experience. For Tara’s parents, allegiance to the family is paramount, and allegiance to the family requires you to accept her father’s view of the world, where violence is acceptable and asking for change is a crime.
15,507 people found this helpful
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TasaK
1.0 out of 5 stars
Critical Thinking Alert!
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2018
Yes, I believe the abuse and also the gaslighting from her parents and family members. But a lot of her story rang false to me. Questions/problems: 1. Tara Westover grew up in the 1990s (not the 1890s) and much of this memoir covers that time period.... See more
Yes, I believe the abuse and also the gaslighting from her parents and family members. But a lot of her story rang false to me.

Questions/problems:

1. Tara Westover grew up in the 1990s (not the 1890s) and much of this memoir covers that time period. Although her family had a television, telephone and computer, she describes her family in this TV-folksy way as if took place around the time of "Little House on the Prairie." Her father''s dialogue alone: He refers to school as "book learning" and at one point asks to know "about them classes." She calls her mother "Mother" yet in a quoted email toward the end of the book she calls her "Mom," which is a lot more likely for someone born in 1986 (not 1886.) Her father says Tara is getting "uppity" when she decides she wants some of that thar book learnin''.

2. Tara is playing the lead in the town''s musicals as a young teen and taking dance and piano classes yet she is so naive about clothes and has so few that we are treated to the following scene, a la Laura Ingalls, when "Mother" takes her to Aunt Angie''s house to get a dress:

"Angie... laid out an armful of dresses, each so fine, with such intricate lace patterns and delicately tied bows, that at first I was afraid to touch them.... "You should take this one," Angie said, passing me a navy dress with white braided cords arranged across the bodice. I took the dress, along with another made of red velvet collared with white lace, and Mother and I drove home."

What, no butter churn?

Remember, Tara is not isolated "off the grid." She''s in town playing the LEAD in "Annie" as a kid, around other kids who presumably weren''t so "isolated." Yet at 15 she''s saying she thought Europe was a continent and didn''t know where France was. Then again she''s careful to say her father only watched "The Honeymooners" reruns on TV -- even though her father, who is in his mid to late 50s, was not even born when "The Honeymooners" originally played on TV.

Tara Westover grew up in the same era as Vanilla Ice, "Beverly Hills 90210," "Saved by the Bell" and MC Hammer but apparently none of those other "book learning" kids in town mentioned this. Pretty much the only pop culture references in the book involve Ralph and Alice Kramden.

3. Harrowing, near-fatal accidents appear in what to seem to be every other chapter. The injured family members hardly ever go to the hospital, emerging from unconsciousness, brain injuries, bloody limbs, or burns and more fairly unscathed a few months later each time.

Her mother is left apparently brain damaged after one terrible car accident. She never sees a doctor despite weeks of migraines and a lot of time spent in the darkened basement. She recovers, of course, enough to run a lucrative, essential oils business, Butterfly Quality Essential Oils, that employs many in the Westover family. This business is rarely mentioned in the book and instead it seems as if the Westover made their living working in "the junkyard."

Abusive brother Shawn is in two horrendous accidents - he falls in the junkyard, is knocked unconscious and yet "lived through the night." Later he has a motorcycle accident and Tara can see his brain through a hole in his forehead. "His brain, I can see it!" she cries on the phone to Dad. Shawn winds up in the hospital but the hole in his brain? No biggie. He recovers.

Luke''s arm is gashed through to the bone while working one of the family''s junkyard machines. (Tara also gets a gash in her leg from a farm injury. There is a lot of bloody "gashes" in this book. The family German shepherd is apparently chopped to death by Shawn.) Another time Luke also gets badly burned in a fire and all they do is stick his leg in a garbage pail to cool it down. He recovers without a doctor of course.

Dad is horribly burned, or so Tara says, in yet another accident involving a fuel tank on their property which leaves his "insides charred." He "still had a forehead a nose... but below his nose, nothing was where it should be. Red, mangled, sagging, it looked like a plastic drama mask that had been held to close to a candle."

Tara sees her mother take a butter knife to "pry my father''s ears from his skull." He never sees a doctor for these life-threatening burns but recovers well enough to return to work. He is also pictured on his wife''s Facebook page in a 2009 photo (taken after the burn accident) and his face looks normal.

There''s yet another bad car accident, in which Dad drives so fast their van crashes into the snowdrifts, upside down. Tara winds up unconscious but doesn''t go to the hospital. Her mother calls in an energy healer. Tara recovers.

4. When she''s about 15, uneducated, mainly unschooled Tara decides she wants to take the ACT. She drives (by herself) into town to buy an ACT study guide. She scans the first page and doesn''t understand the symbols. "What''s this?" she asks Mother. "Math," says Mother.

Yet within a few months, Tara goes from teaching herself the multiplication tables to mastering trigonometry - enough to ace the ACT test. The accidents that befall the Westover family and the abuse Tara suffers at the hands of her brother Shawn are described in depth; her "Education" is not.

She goes from a 15-year-old who can''t identify math symbols to acceptance at Brigham Young University and then - poof - acceptance for study abroad at Cambridge at 17 where her smitten professor says her essay is the best he''s ever read. From there it''s on to Harvard with a lot of traveling to London, Paris, Rome and even a quick trip to the Middle Eastern desert.

Favorite quote from the book? She is at BYU in her dorm room, studying with roommates.

"France, I now understood, was a part of Europe."
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Cherilyn Christen Clough
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Must-Read for Anyone Who Grew Up with Narcissistic Parents
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2018
I highly recommend this book about a girl whose childhood began on a beautiful mountain in a narrow world created by her father’s anti-establishment mindset of fear, insanity, and control and ended when she decided to venture out into the wider world and research the facts... See more
I highly recommend this book about a girl whose childhood began on a beautiful mountain in a narrow world created by her father’s anti-establishment mindset of fear, insanity, and control and ended when she decided to venture out into the wider world and research the facts for herself. Will she come home? Can she come home? Or will home be more damaging to her spirit than the broader dangerous world her father fears? I will try not to give spoilers, but most of the information in this review was provided by the book’s author in interviews. It’s not the bare facts which are so fascinating, but the story itself and how it plays out. If you’ve ever been gaslighted, scapegoated or lied about by your own family, you will find in Tara Westover a true kindred spirit.
The title of this book might give the impression it’s merely about going to school. While the author’s lack of primary education is offset by her future ability to earn a doctorate at Cambridge, her education about society and the world outside her family is just as important as her rise academically.
You might say Tara Westover’s education started while she was very young. Her life began on an Idaho mountain with survivalist parents. A father who distrusts the government and runs an ever-spreading scrap yard. A mother who is practically coerced by her husband to become a midwife. Born the youngest in a family of seven, her mother must’ve burned out on homeschooling by the time Tara came along because she didn’t get much book learning. Her first level of education included prepping with her family for the time of desolation, dodging her father’s careless flung scrap metal while she does child labor in his junkyard and accompanying her mother to home births. Tara’s early survivalist education includes learning how to survive her parents’ ignorant choices and a bullying older brother—all of which are much greater threats than her father’s perceived threats of the government taking over their lives.
Her parents rarely leave the mountain. They are home-birthers, home-schoolers, anti-vaxers, anti-establishment and anti-medical care. In a nutshell, her father seems nutso—more like a deranged lunatic with a massive stockpile of weapons than a father.
Tara’s mother appears to be her husband’s enabler as she meekly follows suit and rationalizes his unhealthy choices even when they threaten her safety and the health of her children. As a matter of fact, for a woman who eventually created a lucrative business by claiming to be a healer by designing her own line of essential oils, her mother’s only safety instinct seems to be to protect the family secrets.
As Tara watched the insanity and chaos of her parents’ poor choices, she had one example of life beyond the mountain. One older brother left home and went to college. He encouraged her to do the same. This book is about her quest to get out from under her father’s control—first physically, then emotionally and eventually spiritually. This process didn’t happen overnight. As anyone who has grown up under a narcissistic parent and knows what it’s like to be bullied and gaslighted will find it easy to relate to Tara’s journey.
This memoir is the story of a girl who was thirsty for knowledge, got a sip of real truth and refused to drink the kool-aid any longer. It’s the story if being scapegoated and gaslighted until she questions her sanity. It’s sad, but this book is also about the loss of siblings who would prefer to vote the family line than treat their sister as a friend. It’s also a story of triumph about the girl who escaped the box she was expected to stay in and become the one who got away from all the drama and insanity of her family of origin.
It’s incredible that Tara Westover succeeded in getting a doctorate from Cambridge, but even more amazing is her social education and how she eventually transformed like Pygmalion and was able to self-differentiate from her parents and choose the life she desired for herself.
This book is an exciting read. I read it around the clock within two days. It’s also complicated enough to provoke intellectual discourse about what it means to be faithful to oneself and how loyalty to family plays out against self-worth and self-knowledge.
This memoir is the fourth book I’ve reviewed about a woman raised in a fundamentalist Mormon family. The first three were all brought up in polygamous households, but Tara only had two parents who kept their family in the local ward despite her father’s concerns about the Illuminati infiltrating the mainstream Mormon church. This family looks Mormon from the outside, but a more sinister agenda lies under the surface. She makes it clear this is NOT a book about Mormons but rather the head-spinning tale of a dysfunctional family. She reminds us that most Mormons send their children to public school and go to the doctor when it seems necessary. The fundamentalist vibes which are all there, under a cloak of self-righteousness, could be manifested within any denomination or cult.
The only thing that made this book uncomfortable for me to read was the descriptions of the terrible injuries this family continually sustained due to the father’s stupidity. I constantly cringed at these stories much like I would while watching a show about life-threatening emergencies. Even worse, her father truly believed all these near death injuries were ordained by his arbitrary version of God. It was all I could do to keep from screaming. Such vivid descriptions were necessary though for the reader to understand what Tara had to endure.
It’s not much of a spoiler to say Tara is eventually going to go no contact with some of her family members. She has told this in interviews. What is impressive about Tara is that she shows no bitterness. She loves her parents and family but has chosen to separate from them as a boundary for her sanity. Or did they shun her first? As in most narcissistic family survivor stories, it’s often hard to tell.
This memoir is a true survival story about surviving a survivalist mindset. This book is the tale of narcissistic, emotional and spiritual abuse and one girl’s victory in becoming herself despite being vilified and gaslighted. My favorite quote from the book sums up Tara’s journey,
“I am not the child my father raised, but he is the father who raised her.” -Tara Westover
Tara’s story is a victory of education, but even more, it’s a triumph of her courage to rise up beyond the mountain—the only home she ever had to find her authentic home within herself. Bravo Tara Westover! You are an amazing survivor! Thank you for documenting your often painful journey so the rest of us can know that although our stories may vary, we are not alone.
2,149 people found this helpful
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rob. o
1.0 out of 5 stars
Pure Fiction
Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2018
If you grew up in a household with limited resources, abusive family, and poor education system, it''s hard to believe that she could have achieved anything that she''s done. Although, it''s possible, she must have left out a LOT of parts in her childhood that helped her get... See more
If you grew up in a household with limited resources, abusive family, and poor education system, it''s hard to believe that she could have achieved anything that she''s done. Although, it''s possible, she must have left out a LOT of parts in her childhood that helped her get to where she was. Maybe she didn''t go to public school, then she really didn''t give her mom enough credit for her homeschool education, because no matter how much she says it, you can''t teach yourself calculus and trigonometry without any basic foundation. But she makes it sound like she did all that by herself. Three siblings going to college to get their Master''s and PhD is not something that just naturally happens through hard work. You can''t aspire for something that you don''t know exists, so they must have been exposed to the possibilities of higher learning through other support systems. They had cars, and computers, and internet and TV, so it makes no sense that she have NEVER heard of the holocaust or MLK. She went to the movies, she drove to downtown, she had friends who went to public school. I did not find any of her struggles believable. I don''t know enough about basic medical science, but lots of other reviewers were saying the physical trauma that her and family have experienced that they managed to cure themselves without any modern medical intervention also sounded very far-fetched.
780 people found this helpful
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Rubyvee
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
useless autobiographical story of enablers
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2018
Unfortunately thousands of adults (mainly women) could write autobiographies about living with enabling mothers. controlling fathers, and being enablers themselves. Maybe with less medical emergencies thrown in! There was no insight into why women live this... See more
Unfortunately thousands of adults (mainly women) could write autobiographies about living with enabling mothers. controlling fathers, and being enablers themselves. Maybe with less medical emergencies thrown in!

There was no insight into why women live this way. Why women with a chance to leave abusive destructive relationships, families, stay. Why women, (her mother), live with, stay with and enable abusive, mentally ill, men. More importantly how to change, how to leave.

The book begins with Tara as a young child so she knows no other way. However she is, I believe, around 28 years old with a PhD in history from Cambridge by the end of the book. Absolutely no insight as to why, even as an adult, she continually returns home and tolerates, allows, family, young children, relatives, to be harmed living in this horrible family dynamic.
580 people found this helpful
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K. Bruce Florence
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Want to Buy the Brooklyn Bridge
Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2018
If you believe this so call memoir, then I have a bridge . . . She is a clever writer, left home to pursue an education because like millions of others she found life at home difficult at times. The difference? They didn''t decide to turn a nontraditional childhood into a... See more
If you believe this so call memoir, then I have a bridge . . . She is a clever writer, left home to pursue an education because like millions of others she found life at home difficult at times. The difference? They didn''t decide to turn a nontraditional childhood into a fortune and use her family as rungs on a ladder to riches and fame. I don''t buy a word of it.
541 people found this helpful
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earthygirl17
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing book
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2018
I loved this book because it mirrors my own life so much and was so validating. My mother has borderline personality disorder, I ran away from home to get a medical degree never believing I could, and still I am often shocked with how my family makes me out to be a... See more
I loved this book because it mirrors my own life so much and was so validating. My mother has borderline personality disorder, I ran away from home to get a medical degree never believing I could, and still I am often shocked with how my family makes me out to be a terrible person when I get along with the rest of the world besides them so well. My whole life I had wondered what was wrong with me, until I moved away and realized it was my family, not me, and I grew up in severe dysfunction. Ditching narrow minded religion (of the Catholic variety) was the best thing I ever did for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed this because I have lived a similar story and it is always nice to hear you are not alone. Fantastic read. Thank you for writing this Dr. Westover. It was so nice to hear it’s not just me.
956 people found this helpful
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Mad Man's Wife
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I was duped. Don’t be like me.
Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2019
The story was very fascinating but this wasn’t real. Once I finished, I reread the comments and did a little research of my own and now I feel like I enabled a deranged human in a very public charade the type of people and conflicts I try with all my might to... See more
The story was very fascinating but this wasn’t real.

Once I finished, I reread the comments and did a little research of my own and now I feel like I enabled a deranged human in a very public charade the type of people and conflicts I try with all my might to avoid getting involved with.

Ugh, I was duped into my worst nightmare.

If you’re going to read this (you feel obligated because your stupid book club picked it) and enable the author at least look into the information that her family has out there and take everything in knowing that it is highly disputed by friends, family and logic. Mostly logic.
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Top reviews from other countries

Mrs. S. Thorne
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A bit depressing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 27, 2018
I expected this book to be more redemptive, and it finally left me rather depressed. I suppose I was waiting for the author''s vindication, and I probably wanted a bit of retribution to fall on those appalling parents and that horrible brother. It is hard to believe this was...See more
I expected this book to be more redemptive, and it finally left me rather depressed. I suppose I was waiting for the author''s vindication, and I probably wanted a bit of retribution to fall on those appalling parents and that horrible brother. It is hard to believe this was happening during the 21st century, and I admire the author for her ultimate escape, though I was frustrated by the number of times she returned home and faced more abuse. Don''t want to re-read it.
126 people found this helpful
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Bookthrower
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Educational
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2018
Some autobiographical memoirs of traumatic childhoods are self-pitying and self- absorbed. This one is not. The author gives a balanced picture of her troubled family,in which madness is combined with ingenuity, intelligence and grit, and of the wider Mormon community in...See more
Some autobiographical memoirs of traumatic childhoods are self-pitying and self- absorbed. This one is not. The author gives a balanced picture of her troubled family,in which madness is combined with ingenuity, intelligence and grit, and of the wider Mormon community in which she grew up. It provides a fascinating insight into the complex effects of mental illness on family relationships and the individual. It is also a moving story of one individual''s successful struggle to overcome those effects and live a satisfying life.
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''ve been Educated
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2018
Usually I take issue with someone younger than me churning out a memoir. On this occasion I’m all for it. This is a stonker. I couldn’t believe that it’s based in the late 20th and early 21st century. I kept slipping into an assumption that it was 1960s America. I read a...See more
Usually I take issue with someone younger than me churning out a memoir. On this occasion I’m all for it. This is a stonker. I couldn’t believe that it’s based in the late 20th and early 21st century. I kept slipping into an assumption that it was 1960s America. I read a review in a broadsheet that mentioned Westover’s author’s voice being distant and a little cold. I didn’t feel this at all. I felt it was all the more powerful for not being doused in flowery descriptions. It was clear and real and honest. I like the references to how reliable a storyteller is, how our memories differ and how, in real life we have to find a way of weaving varying recollections to find a truth. It’s an anthem to the power of education and knowledge. Fascinating and incredibly readable. The numerous accidents felt like the tense moments in an episode of Casualty. You know whenever there’s a scene with a tractor that something horrific is going to happen. It''s a 4 for now but more of a 4.5..
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4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Educated, against the odds.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 25, 2018
A remarkable book , written by a remarkable person. Brought up by parents who were fanatical Mormons, she had to suffer threats and aggression from a dysfunctional brother, a childhood without any formal education and repeated pronouncements that the end of the world was...See more
A remarkable book , written by a remarkable person. Brought up by parents who were fanatical Mormons, she had to suffer threats and aggression from a dysfunctional brother, a childhood without any formal education and repeated pronouncements that the end of the world was nigh. Despite spending much of her pre- pubertal years as an unpaid labourer, she contrived to turn her life around and ended up as a scholar in both Cambridge and Oxford. Inevitably, she had great difficulty in maintaining relationships largely because core facts about history and life outside the teachings of the Mormon Church were a blank page to her. She had never heard of the Holocaust; knew nothing of the World Wars and was told that the authorities had murdered members of another Mormon family because of their faith. Despite all of these encumbrances, she became a highly respected academic. Her success was bought at the price of her family relationships but she came to accept that cost. The book can be a little fragmentary with no continuous chronological line, but it is a compelling read which I will not easily forget.
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4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A gripping read and an incredible story powerfully told
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 10, 2019
This is an absolutely riveting book that I couldn’t put down until finally I had finished it in the small hours of the morning. Tara Westover tells the story of her childhood and upbringing with such descriptive narrative that it’s easy to see the farm and mountain where...See more
This is an absolutely riveting book that I couldn’t put down until finally I had finished it in the small hours of the morning. Tara Westover tells the story of her childhood and upbringing with such descriptive narrative that it’s easy to see the farm and mountain where she grew up and to imagine what it must have been like to be a young girl in her family house. When the first incidents start to appear one is held in a kind of shock. This is horrible, so wrong, so very wrong that she is treated like this and we wait for someone to recognise the abuse and intervene and put a stop to it. But the interventions never come and with each successive incident of abuse, violence and gross neglect we read on in increasing disbelief and horror that no one has stopped these people, called them out on what they are doing and stepped in to protect the victims. Tara tells her life story so skilfully, she somehow allows us to experience what she went through and yet disassociate from the worst parts simultaneously in the same way she did. It’s such brilliant brilliant writing technique to tell us and yet show us in the same sentence. Offering narrative of what her future self came to understand was happening to her, she relays at the same time perfectly how the young girl she was then lived it. With either carefully crafted intention or from therapeutic necessity (or maybe both) she leads the reader to flow through the story narrative smoothly and expertly and then stop abruptly when an incident happens. The way she writes and explains each incident forces a rereading of the paragraph more than once, for suddenly there’s a change in pace here and it’s relayed from a disassociated perspective whilst still remaining in the first person. I can’t help thinking that this emulates in part the way she herself must have visited and revisited these same incidents repeatedly in her head and in her journal to try to make sense of what has happening to her. Except she somehow found a way to normalise it so she could continue to survive and function in such a dangerous hostile environment. Truly it’s such marvellous intelligent writing and all the more painful for it. We feel a truer impact of her painful incredible story and feel for her in a way that is at once frustrating because we are powerless ourselves to step in and save her from the people who are her family. Or even perhaps to save them all from themselves. It’s interesting that this is domestic abuse and violence in full flow but Tara never calls it that in the book, save a indicative third party reference in the end. She reaches for instead repeatedly, an understanding of why her family behaved the way they did. Her love for them and need not to unfairly label them, even whilst recalling such pain, is obvious even here. In some ways the second and last part of the book are more heartbreaking and haunting. Whilst clearly all the physical wounds have healed and by the power of her own internal will, strength, resilience and focus and determination she has transformed her life into what any of us would applaud as a brilliant success (and most of us can only aspire to in our dreams), there is a feeling that this is all overshadowed by the pain of her cruel and unfair eviction from the family. She describes the effects of their gaslighting with disturbing clarity. Physical violence is one thing but to undermine and eradicate a person’s sense of reality and self belief is an abhorrent abuse that leaves no visible scars, yet has a destructive force that can demolish a life from the inside out. There’s a sense that even with her intellectual understanding, she still underneath it all keenly feels she’s had to pay a high price for her personal safety, success and happiness. That whilst more than half of her family have cruelly rejected and evicted her and continue to slander her in attempt to regain lost power and control, she still feels love and undercurrents of loyalty towards them even whilst she knows she can no longer concede to the abuse. The book is an excellent example of the devastating cost an absence of education and self-belief can have. What Tara Westover doesn’t emphasise and is notably non-vocal and modest about is her own inspiring inner strength and brilliance as a human being. One can’t help but feel that in the absence of having a family who appreciated their incredible good fortune to have such a remarkable daughter in their lives and who lived up to their responsibilities, she at some point is finally able to fully let go of them within herself. To fully let go of that innate desire to have the love and regard of her parents. Is this ever truly possible for a child, even an adult one? That’s debateable but if anyone deserves to be happy and free and lighthearted and at true peace within herself, it’s undoubtedly Tara Westover.
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