#wahm #homebiz Educated: A Memoir

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3 Responses to “#wahm #homebiz Educated: A Memoir”

  1. Anonymous says:
    8,111 of 8,113 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Overcoming the gaslighting, April 8, 2018
    Drew Mecham

    This review is from: Educated: A Memoir (Hardcover)
    In the interest of full disclosure, I’m the Drew from this book, and although Tara and I are no longer together I’ve met all of the key figures in this book on many occasions. Although I don’t have as intimate a knowledge of growing up in the Westover family as a sibling would, I observed first hand everything Tara describes in the third part of the book and heard many stories about earlier events, not just from Tara, but from siblings, cousins, and her parents themselves. I find the claims of factual inaccuracy that have come up among these reviews to be strange for two reasons. First, in a post-James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces”) world, publishers are incredibly careful with memoirs and “Educated” was extensively fact checked before publication. Second, no one claiming factual inaccuracy can do so with any precision. While every Westover sibling, as well as their neighbors and friends, will have different perspectives and different memories, it is very difficult to dispute the core facts of this book. “Educated” is about abuse, and the way in which both abusers and their enablers distort reality for the victims. It’s about the importance of gaining your own understanding of the world so you’re not dependent on the narratives imposed on you by others. I’ve heard Tara’s parents attack schools and universities, doctors and modern medicine, but more importantly, I’ve seen her parents work tirelessly to create a world where Shawn’s abuse was minimized or denied outright. I’ve seen them try to create a world where Tara was insane or possessed in order to protect a violent and unstable brother. I was with her in Cambridge when Shawn was calling with death threats, then saw her mother completely trivialize the experience. For Tara’s parents, allegiance to the family is paramount, and allegiance to the family requires you to accept her father’s view of the world, where violence is acceptable and asking for change is a crime.
  2. Anonymous says:
    1,608 of 1,620 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Must-Read for Anyone Who Grew Up with Narcissistic Parents, March 8, 2018
    Cherilyn Clough

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I highly recommend this book about a girl whose childhood began on a beautiful mountain in a narrow world created by her father’s anti-establishment mindset of fear, insanity, and control and ended when she decided to venture out into the wider world and research the facts for herself. Will she come home? Can she come home? Or will home be more damaging to her spirit than the broader dangerous world her father fears? I will try not to give spoilers, but most of the information in this review was provided by the book’s author in interviews. It’s not the bare facts which are so fascinating, but the story itself and how it plays out. If you’ve ever been gaslighted, scapegoated or lied about by your own family, you will find in Tara Westover a true kindred spirit.
    The title of this book might give the impression it’s merely about going to school. While the author’s lack of primary education is offset by her future ability to earn a doctorate at Cambridge, her education about society and the world outside her family is just as important as her rise academically.
    You might say Tara Westover’s education started while she was very young. Her life began on an Idaho mountain with survivalist parents. A father who distrusts the government and runs an ever-spreading scrap yard. A mother who is practically coerced by her husband to become a midwife. Born the youngest in a family of seven, her mother must’ve burned out on homeschooling by the time Tara came along because she didn’t get much book learning. Her first level of education included prepping with her family for the time of desolation, dodging her father’s careless flung scrap metal while she does child labor in his junkyard and accompanying her mother to home births. Tara’s early survivalist education includes learning how to survive her parents’ ignorant choices and a bullying older brother—all of which are much greater threats than her father’s perceived threats of the government taking over their lives.
    Her parents rarely leave the mountain. They are home-birthers, home-schoolers, anti-vaxers, anti-establishment and anti-medical care. In a nutshell, her father seems nutso—more like a deranged lunatic with a massive stockpile of weapons than a father.
    Tara’s mother appears to be her husband’s enabler as she meekly follows suit and rationalizes his unhealthy choices even when they threaten her safety and the health of her children. As a matter of fact, for a woman who eventually created a lucrative business by claiming to be a healer by designing her own line of essential oils, her mother’s only safety instinct seems to be to protect the family secrets.
    As Tara watched the insanity and chaos of her parents’ poor choices, she had one example of life beyond the mountain. One older brother left home and went to college. He encouraged her to do the same. This book is about her quest to get out from under her father’s control—first physically, then emotionally and eventually spiritually. This process didn’t happen overnight. As anyone who has grown up under a narcissistic parent and knows what it’s like to be bullied and gaslighted will find it easy to relate to Tara’s journey.
    This memoir is the story of a girl who was thirsty for knowledge, got a sip of real truth and refused to drink the kool-aid any longer. It’s the story if being scapegoated and gaslighted until she questions her sanity. It’s sad, but this book is also about the loss of siblings who would prefer to vote the family line than treat their sister as a friend. It’s also a story of triumph about the girl who escaped the box she was expected to stay in and become the one who got away from all the drama and insanity of her family of origin.
    It’s incredible that Tara Westover succeeded in getting a doctorate from Cambridge, but even more amazing is her social education and how she eventually transformed like Pygmalion and was able to self-differentiate from her parents and choose the life she desired for herself.
    This book is an exciting read. I read it around the clock within two days. It’s also complicated enough to provoke intellectual discourse about what it means to be faithful to oneself and how loyalty to family plays out against self-worth and self-knowledge.
    This memoir is the fourth book I’ve reviewed about a woman raised in a fundamentalist Mormon family. The first three were all brought up in polygamous households, but Tara only had two parents who kept their family in the local ward despite her father’s concerns about the Illuminati infiltrating the mainstream Mormon church. This family looks Mormon from the outside, but a more sinister agenda lies under the surface. She makes it clear this is NOT a book about Mormons but rather the head-spinning tale of a dysfunctional family. She reminds us that most Mormons send their children to public school and go to the doctor when it seems necessary. The fundamentalist vibes which are all there, under a…

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  3. Anonymous says:
    505 of 505 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Critical Thinking Alert!, December 22, 2018
    TasaK (Perth, Australia)

    This review is from: Educated: A Memoir (Hardcover)

    Yes, I believe the abuse and also the gaslighting from her parents and family members. But a lot of her story rang false to me.


    1. Tara Westover grew up in the 1990s (not the 1890s) and much of this memoir covers that time period. Although her family had a television, telephone and computer, she describes her family in this TV-folksy way as if took place around the time of “Little House on the Prairie.” Her father’s dialogue alone: He refers to school as “book learning” and at one point asks to know “about them classes.” She calls her mother “Mother” yet in a quoted email toward the end of the book she calls her “Mom,” which is a lot more likely for someone born in 1986 (not 1886.) Her father says Tara is getting “uppity” when she decides she wants some of that thar book learnin’.

    2. Tara is playing the lead in the town’s musicals as a young teen and taking dance and piano classes yet she is so naive about clothes and has so few that we are treated to the following scene, a la Laura Ingalls, when “Mother” takes her to Aunt Angie’s house to get a dress:

    “Angie… laid out an armful of dresses, each so fine, with such intricate lace patterns and delicately tied bows, that at first I was afraid to touch them…. “You should take this one,” Angie said, passing me a navy dress with white braided cords arranged across the bodice. I took the dress, along with another made of red velvet collared with white lace, and Mother and I drove home.”

    What, no butter churn?

    Remember, Tara is not isolated “off the grid.” She’s in town playing the LEAD in “Annie” as a kid, around other kids who presumably weren’t so “isolated.” Yet at 15 she’s saying she thought Europe was a continent and didn’t know where France was. Then again she’s careful to say her father only watched “The Honeymooners” reruns on TV — even though her father, who is in his mid to late 50s, was not even born when “The Honeymooners” originally played on TV.

    Tara Westover grew up in the same era as Vanilla Ice, “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Saved by the Bell” and MC Hammer but apparently none of those other “book learning” kids in town mentioned this. Pretty much the only pop culture references in the book involve Ralph and Alice Kramden.

    3. Harrowing, near-fatal accidents appear in what to seem to be every other chapter. The injured family members hardly ever go to the hospital, emerging from unconsciousness, brain injuries, bloody limbs, or burns and more fairly unscathed a few months later each time.

    Her mother is left apparently brain damaged after one terrible car accident. She never sees a doctor despite weeks of migraines and a lot of time spent in the darkened basement. She recovers, of course, enough to run a lucrative, essential oils business, Butterfly Quality Essential Oils, that employs many in the Westover family. This business is rarely mentioned in the book and instead it seems as if the Westover made their living working in “the junkyard.”

    Abusive brother Shawn is in two horrendous accidents – he falls in the junkyard, is knocked unconscious and yet “lived through the night.” Later he has a motorcycle accident and Tara can see his brain through a hole in his forehead. “His brain, I can see it!” she cries on the phone to Dad. Shawn winds up in the hospital but the hole in his brain? No biggie. He recovers.

    Luke’s arm is gashed through to the bone while working one of the family’s junkyard machines. (Tara also gets a gash in her leg from a farm injury. There is a lot of bloody “gashes” in this book. The family German shepherd is apparently chopped to death by Shawn.) Another time Luke also gets badly burned in a fire and all they do is stick his leg in a garbage pail to cool it down. He recovers without a doctor of course.

    Dad is horribly burned, or so Tara says, in yet another accident involving a fuel tank on their property which leaves his “insides charred.” He “still had a forehead a nose… but below his nose, nothing was where it should be. Red, mangled, sagging, it looked like a plastic drama mask that had been held to close to a candle.”

    Tara sees her mother take a butter knife to “pry my father’s ears from his skull.” He never sees a doctor for these life-threatening burns but recovers well enough to return to work. He is also pictured on his wife’s Facebook page in a 2009 photo (taken after the burn accident) and his face looks normal.

    There’s yet another bad car accident, in which Dad drives so fast their van crashes into the snowdrifts, upside down. Tara winds up unconscious but doesn’t go to the hospital. Her mother calls in an energy healer. Tara recovers.

    4. When she’s about 15, uneducated, mainly unschooled Tara decides she wants to take the ACT. She drives (by herself) into town to buy an ACT study guide. She scans the first page and doesn’t…

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