Thoughts  by Tara Westover, Random House 2017, 352 pages

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes and Noble
 Why I read this now: TOB Nonfiction May


WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is Tara’s story of how she had to sacrifice a relationship with her family to find herself. Upon the urging of a brother, she decided to try to take the ACT. She was 15. She taught herself enough math to pass the exam and on her second attempt to try and raise her score, she succeeded in qualifying for acceptance to BYU. It’s a fascinating story and well told. With some hard work and some luck, a few missteps and some hard choices, she eventually earned her PhD in history and now teaches at Cambridge.

WHAT’s GOOD: Yowza, what an upbringing she endured. Her father is a misogynistic whack job. Her mother survives the best she knows how, I suppose.

She never set foot in a classroom until college.

What’s NOT so good: I had no issues.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish Dr. Westover all the best.

RATING: Five slices of pie.




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19 thoughts on “Educated

  1. She never stepped foot into a classroom until college? Wow. What a shock that must have been.

    Hey, I got your postcard. Thanks so much for always thinking of me. I am so bad with snail mail, as you know. An Ursula readalong? Like Ursula K. Le Guin?

    I am reading some great books but taking my time with them. I am really trying to make good on my review copies and I make plenty of progress but then I sign on to Edelweiss and add three more for every one I review. I’ve just been quiet and pretty wiped out. Trying to figure out ways to improve my life. You know Nothing big.

    1. Yes! She asked some startling questions her first week in class and quickly figured out she was in over her head. She realized how much she didn’t know. This was my favorite part of the book.

      She also didn’t have any of the typical college distractions because she was shy; scared to make friends. She pretty much studied full focus and with such an appetite to learn, she learned vastly.

      I mean, I think about what all was in my head as a freshman and it wasn’t a lot given to ‘increasing knowledge’, more like ‘what to do to pass the class’ so I can do all the fun things in college. She did none of those fun things. Her attitude was so NOT ‘typical college kid’.

      Once she figured out that she was allowed to ask her professors for help, I think they saw her as genuine and charming. Teachers LOVE kids who want to try.

      and yes, to Ursula K Le Guin. I’ve never read anything by her. Avid Reader Melissa and I are trying to find a book to readalong. Probably The Wizard of Earthsea.

  2. Dang. This sounds amazing. (I wonder if I can get Connor to read it as he struggles to finish his first year of college and still has less than stellar grades…)

    1. Yea, I am not sure I would have read it without the TOB prompt. AND, I actually thought it was a different book when I started it so, I really was off kilter to my expectations. But it IS fascinating.

  3. Can’t wait to give this one a whirl. That makes sense about her attitude towards college…that certainly helps, that kind of focus. I remember the jump from elementary to junior high was HUGE for me. I did really poorly my first semester. It took me a while to figure out difference.

    1. Did it arrive? I have lost momentum on my thoughts I wanted to gather for a post contrasting these three – AND I need to find Sarah Hepola’s book, too.

      You’ll be pleased (I think?) to know that I’m enjoying the heck out of the Jane Eyre (Thandie Newton’s narration of the audiobook)

  4. I just replied to your postcard (thank you!) and asked you what you thought about this book and then realized, “Duh, I could see if she reviewed it.” Glad to see you enjoyed it. Gloria Steinem didn’t go to school till college, either. It’s interesting that missing out on school seems to make some people absolutely ravenous for learning.

  5. I’m super interested to read this, and I have to read it soon because I have it out on a seven-day loan so there’s a clock on it. Kim Ukura recommended it on her podcast! She and I share an interest in weird fringey religions and how people get out of them.

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