Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling supplies and sleeping with her “head for the hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or a nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to intervene when her brother became violent or when her father’s Mormon beliefs drifted toward the extreme.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She ultimately taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events such as the Holocaust. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if there was still a way home.
A riveting account of the struggle for self-invention, Educated is also a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties.