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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Selected as a book of the year by Amazon, The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, New York Times, Economist, New Statesman, Vogue, Irish Times, Irish Examiner and RED Magazine.

The multi-million copy best seller.

A Book of the Decade, 2010-2020 (Independent).

Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals. 

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education and the price she had to pay for it.

From one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2019.

Shortlisted for the 2018 BAMB Readers' Awards.

Recommended by Barack Obama, Anthony Beevor, Blake Morrison and Nina Stibbe.

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"An amazing story, and truly inspiring. The kind of book everyone will enjoy. IT’S EVEN BETTER THAN YOU’VE HEARD." (Bill Gates)

What listeners say about Educated

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Wonderful, inspiring book on the value of education

While this book has plenty of grim stories of life growing up in a Mormon survivalist home, this is much more than a book about survival.

Westover makes this a book about education in its clearest, most uncynical form. This is a hymn to the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning not to be frightened of making mistakes on your path to knowledge.

It is similar to JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Yet whereas Vance’s journey from hillbilly to literary star could only make you admire his determination & discipline, Westover’s is a more humane vision. She fails, doubts and self-sabotages yet never loses faith that acquiring knowledge about the world and her fellow humans is a liberation (even when it unsettles).

Most importantly she provides hope for us all: that hopeless ignorance is only ever a book or good teacher away from being transformed, if you have the desire.

Like Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood it can be a challenging read at times: but what sings out is not the badness she experiences, but the goodness & generosity she frequently encounters (whilst remaining astounding generous to her family’s flaws)

A beautiful, inspiring read

34 people found this helpful

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  • TK
  • 25-02-19

Unique and great... but unfinished and incomplete

Julie Whelan is a fantasic narrator in this audiobook. Tara's story is fascinating and unique, but there is a slight irritation after finishing her book. After a way too detailed first third of the book about her childhood, we fast forward through life experiences and pass others in tangent, that would be crucial to understand the author's change in perspective. It feels like the author, despite her best intentions, still hasn't come to terms with herself and the family. The story has not yet ended, and Tara needs to do some self-exploration over things that are glaringly obvious to the outsider. Or at least it seems so from her book.
I almost want to ask the author to get, or continue getting counselling - and I would really want to hear her next book.

15 people found this helpful

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Extraordinary

This had me gripped from the beginning. Beautifully written. It's devastating and uplifting. Heart stopping and heart warming. One of the best books I've ready in a long time. Inspiring all the way.

19 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

Gripping, haunting, disturbing, frightening, inspiring, courageous, uplifting, honest, heart and soul - just some of the words that come to mind in this must read. The journey to realisation and self worth laid out in uncompromising honesty. A privilege to be allowed to share the journey of this remarkable person.

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Wow

I found this very shocking & sad at times.
I throughly enjoyed listening to the story of Tara’s life unfold.
I found it hard to understand how her father had such a hold over his children even after Tara had started a PHD her father still managed to cause problems in Tara’s mind.
A very brave lady, who managed to get herself an education of the highest level despite never attending a school.
I could not under stand why towards the end she felt she might have been guilt of wrong doing.
Sad thing us there are children today being raised in similar homes.

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful and thought provoking

Beautifully written and narrated, often painfully depicting a child, a family, abused, bulleyed and controlled under the cover of Mormonism. Shocking that such derranged minds could wield such power over their innocent families using threats and violence, hidden from the authorities under their cloak of religeon. Hard to know if the abusers were simply brainwashed into their psychopathy or were born warped and enjoyed the protection of their mormon enclave to carry out their sadistic rituals.
The book made me angry for the family members, who, while striving to be 'good' people gave power to evil men.
It's amazing to me that after the torture she suffered, mental and physical, the cruelty and rejection, the author still revered and loved her parents and sought their approval and affection. Making her the greater person.
It's always hard for those us who haven't experienced this sort of abuse to understand the control these abusers have, the guilt and self blame they instil into their victims.
At the end of it all, despite Tara's true goodness of heart and forgiving spirit, I do wish someone would grab that nasty old dad by the scruff and throw him and his psychopathic son Sean into goal and give them a taste of their own medicine!

5 people found this helpful

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Autobiography

A well written account of the life so far of Tara Westover. Although I was hoping to get more insight into the Mormon faith. The book is very moving and is very descriptive, it feels very real. This will always be about perception though and it will raise it's own questions.

5 people found this helpful

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Moving

family estrangement written with pure softness and truth . Despair , loss , love , trauma and confusion can be felt everywhere yet the authors own grit powered through.

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a tinderbox life story

a breathless and humbling story of survival and phoenix like success. A clarion call for education and understanding of mental health.

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a tough listen

Horrifying story revealing how difficult it is to recover from a traumatic abusive childhood. Tara's achievements are very much to be admired but it was difficult for the reader to keep being taken back to this deluded and dangerous bunch of fanatics.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Charmaine P
  • 09-10-18

You can’t be off the grid forever....it ain’t ‘right’!

There’s another side to life that I don’t even know about.... What was this father even thinking in keeping his family off the grid. And, the ‘vasbyt’ and determination of one child to get a degree without ever having been to school ..... I loved this book and it’s really well written.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jolene
  • 24-06-19

Best book of 2019

I loved this story, couldn't stop listening (downloaded the audio version). Tara opened up her world and took me with her. This is a story about family, how much we are shaped by it but also how much you sometimes have to cut the ties to survive. I was blown away by her determination. She kept listening to that little voice inside of her. In her heart she stayed loyal to them not by following their "rules" but by loving them. I think that's what matters in the end.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-01-20

A haunting book beautifully written

Story and narration was excellent. Powerful story of religion and how big a role education has.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dilip Bhagwat
  • 05-04-19

Excellent story, narration and gripping!

It is difficult to believe that people with such conviction of God`s hand in all things done still exist in today's world

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-06-22

Skin crawling. Courageous.

This memoir is an incredible story. The way it was delivered made me feel so much - a braid spectrum of emotion and so much dis-ease! I was frustrated and hurt for the life that Tara had to endure and how she just seemed not to be able to shake the shackles off of her mind.

An incredible story of triumph and such a wonderfully different perspective on the life of Mormons than I have experienced before.

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  • customer
  • 10-06-22

Extraordinary journey to self realisation

It’s so challenging for me to fathom how the author went through this level of domination and fundamentalist indoctrination and still had the courage and capacity to seek out and successfully attain a stellar education. Additionally that courage gave birth to life-changing insights and discernment. The understanding and wisdom she gained along the way was hard won but the remodelled version of herself that she became is awe inspiring.

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  • Edmund Yong
  • 02-05-22

Personal psychological journey

Tara brings you into the immense mental distress cause by people closest to her. Her parents and her siblings

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-22

Brilliant.

Thought provoking. A wild ride. Hard to believe this happened- and not even that long ago. A sad story. But a real testament to Tara.

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  • Lisa
  • 28-11-21

Thoroughly enjoyed this story

It’s the type of story that stays with you … insightful, intellectual, honest and heart wrenching.

The narrator did a fantastic job.

Highly recommended

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  • Cliente Amazon
  • 03-10-21

Enjoyed reading this book.

It was a very good read. It made me contemplate my own bizarre family and the thoughts I've had a million times when I cut people off my life and then forgive them, then cut them off again in a never ending cycle. Good to know that I am not the only one out there. Its very well written and is an emotional book. Good job, Tara