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Tara Westover Books In Order

Publication Order of Books

Educated Tara Westover and Education of an Idealist (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Educated (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Educated Tara Westover, Where the Crawdads Sing (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Educated and Normal People (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Tara Westover was born in September 1986 in Clifton, Idaho. She was the youngest of seven kids to LaRee and Val Westover. Her parents were survivalists and were suspicious of hospitals, doctors, public schools, as well as the federal government. Because of this, Westover was born at home, never visited a nurse or doctor, delivered by a midwife, and did not get a birth certificate until she was nine years old.

The ideology her dad followed forbade all pharmaceutical interventions, meaning that Tara and her siblings were never taken to the doctor. Even for the serious injuries they sustained working in their dad’s wrecking yard, in car accidents. Instead, they got treated by their mom, who had studied herbalism as well as other methods of alternative healing.

Like the rest of her siblings, Tara was home schooled, but she has stated her education was haphazard. One of her older brothers taught her how to read, and she studied the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which her parents belonged. She never took an exam, went to a lecture, or wrote an essay, not to mention there weren’t many textbooks in the house so she could teach herself. Despite all of this, she credits both of her parents with instructing her how to learn and how to think.

Because she was not going to school, she didn’t have friends like most people. She only knew the kids of families like hers, and even then, she didn’t see them all that often. When she was thirteen years old, she first went to somebody’s house that went to school. She didn’t ask the girl back because she teased Tara for not knowing what fractions were.

As a teen, Westover bought her own textbooks and studied by herself in order to pass the ACT Exam and was able to get into Brigham Young University. After a tough first year, that was difficult for Westover to adjust to mainstream society and academia, she wound up doing well and graduated with honors in the year 2008.

When she was a graduate student at Cambridge, she informed her parents that since she was fifteen years old she was psychologically and physically abused by one of her older brothers. Her parents denied the violence and suggested she was under Satan’s influence, and a schism within her family happened, as a result.

She would later get a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge at Trinity College and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University in the year 2010. She went back to Trinity College, Cambridge, and earned a doctorate in intellectual history in the year 2014.

“Educated” has won or been nominated for many awards since its release. The New York Times named her memoir “Educated” as one of the best books of 2018. It won the Goodreads Choice Awards for Autobiography, the Audie Award for Autobiography/Memoir, and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. She also made 2019’s TIME 100 List.

The book also spent over a year on the New York Times Bestseller list and was being translated into over thirty languages. At the Salt Lake City Public Library, it had the longest wait-list in early 2019 and was popular in all the libraries in Utah.

“Educated” has gotten rave reviews from well known people. Bill Gates wrote about it in his yearly reading and said it was better than others had said it was. President Obama included it in his summer reading list, as well.

While she was writing the book, she felt like it was only specific to her and not something that anybody would ever care about. Tara did think about how well it would do with little girls who never attended school and worked in junkyards. Anyone else reading it, though, it would be a tad inaccessible.

When Tara was writing the book, she did read a few memoirs. She finds the genre does come with its own tropes that don’t suit her or she doesn’t like. One Tara really enjoyed was “Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, and thinks of it as the gold standard and a truly amazing book.

Tara meant the book to be something readers experience as a whole. She also understands that people will read it, and take away certain things, something she understands.

The book came out, and at first, she wanted to make sure that people knew how well it was doing. She wanted to make sure everybody was in the loop on just how well it was doing, particularly her friends. At some point, she wound up getting over this, however, she is unsure if she has totally processed its success or how many people bought the book.

“Educated” is Tara’s memoir, released in the year 2018. Tara was seventeen years old before she stepped into a real classroom. Born in the mountains of Idaho to a couple of survivalists, she got ready for the end of the world by sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag” and stockpiling home-canned peaches. During the summer she would stew herbs for her mom, who is a healer and a midwife, and during the winter time she salvaged in her dad’s junkyard.

Her dad forbade any of them to go to hospitals, so Tara would never go see a doctor or nurse. Concussions and gashes, even the burns from explosions, were treated by herbalism at home. The family was kept so far away from mainstream society that there was nobody to make sure the children were educated and nobody to intervene when an older brother of Tara’s started to become violent.

Lacking any formal education, Tara started to teach herself. She learned grammar and mathematics, and was able to get admitted into Brigham Young University. Here, she studied history, finally learning about important world events about things like the civil rights movement and the Holocaust. Her quest to learn transformed her, taking her across continents and over oceans, to Cambridge and to Harvard. Only then she would wonder if she had gone too far and if there was a way for her to get back home.
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