Educated by Tara Westover

Since I still have my lengthier than ever commute, I used my Audible credit last month for this novel which I had heard so much about. Everyone has been VERY EFFUSIVE about it, so I assumed that I wouldn’t like it, because I rarely like the things that everyone else raves over (I’m weird like that).

However, I was wrong. This was a fascinating read/listen about an amazing young woman who overcame significant odds to become the person she is today. The description is about education (hence, the title) but there is so much more in this book about family and sibling relationships. Julia Whelan’s narration was spot on perfect and I highly recommend the audiobook. Readers should note that there are some triggers in this story in regards to emotional and physical abuse.

Here’s the overview, which pretty much sums it up!

Number-one New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Boston Globe best seller

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 for the National Book Critics Circle’s Award in Autobiography

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Best First Book

Finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award 

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: The Washington PostO: The Oprah Magazine Time NPR Good Morning America San Francisco Chronicle The Guardian The Economist Financial TimesNewsday New York Post theSkimm Refinery29 Bloomberg Self Real Simple Town & Country Bustle Paste Publishers Weekly Library Journal LibraryReads BookRiot Pamela Paul, KQED New York Public Library 

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

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 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 [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

“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)

Quick Review: “Could I Vote for a Mormon for President?” by Ryan Cragun and Rick Phillips

I came across this easy-to-read book on Net Galley and downloaded it into my Adobe Digital Reader. With Mitt Romney’s face emblazoned on the cover, it is quite timely, however it is at heart a straightforward introduction to the tenets of Mormonism. Both authors were raised Mormon and both cheerily write that while his religion won’t make a difference to his job performance, they won’t be voting for Romney.

I have several friends who are LDS/Mormon, so I feel that I’m probably more familiar with Mormon beliefs and religious traditions than the average American. However, my background is Roman Catholic and I certainly am no expert on the Mormon faith. I found this book so interesting! It is set up as a series of questions relating to the doctrines of Mormonism, then tied into Mitt Romney’s role if he becomes President of the United States. It is easy to read and written in a slightly quirky and humorous style. It is short (less than 150 pages) and I read it in a sitting.

If you are considering Romney, or just wanting to understand more about the Mormon faith, I’d recommend this book! It’s subtitle is “An Election Year Guide to Mitt Romney’s Religion”.

Thanks for my copy, Net Galley and Strange Violin Press!