Written By: Tara Westover

Narrated By: Julia Whelan

Date: February 2018

Duration: 12 hours 11 minutes

Summary:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
 
“Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention.”—The New York Times
 
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: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize
 
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen 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 [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

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • Good Morning America • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsday • New York Post • theSkimm • Refinery29 • Bloomberg • Self • Real Simple • Town & Country • Bustle • Paste • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • LibraryReads • Book Riot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

Genres:

  • Gary G.

    Frustrating, aggravating, educating--I could not stop listening once I started. It is so well written and narrated that it totally absorbs you. There are many useful insights to be gained by Westover's evaluation of her tragic relationship with her family and her radical religious upbringing. Those relationships affected every aspect of her life for more than 30 years. I am grateful that the author was able to set that tortured life aside to share this with us.I have recommended this book to women of all ages. It should be required reading for everyone.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful.

  • Patricia T.

    Wonderful insight into family. Most likely, without intending to, the author helps us understand the crazy policies and fear currently crawling out of our country. The brilliance here is in the writing, each word calculated to offer readers thoughts to ponder.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful.

  • Mihai S

    Read it or listen to it, doesn’t matter - absorb this superb work one way or another. It’s a brilliant work that will go far - I could easily imagine turning it into a movie to reach even more people. Tara is a writer of great potential with an intelligence that is shining on every page.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful.

  • Ken S.

    Outstanding memoir. I can see why it has received the attention and awards it has. Very much deserved. My heart just ached for Tara for what she endured the whole way through the book. I am in awe of the physical and emotional strength she developed from the time she was very young. The narrator is compelling, as well. I imagine that Tara sounds very much like her.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful.

  • Maggi B.

    A well written reflective story. It brilliantly illustrates, through this personal story, how we develop our perceptions and beliefs over time and how difficult it is to change misconceptions. Through Tara’s insights and perseverance we understand why there are many different beliefs in this country and the world and how education and varied life experiences open the mind to a safer more accepting reality.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

  • Cari A

    This is an amazing story that’s well written with a great narration. Highly recommend!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

  • Fernanda M.

    I thought this would be an inspiring morning read, but it was more a story of struggle with very descriptive physical and mental abuse that doesn’t diminish through the end of the book. An incredible story nonetheless, but I felt I carried the weight of the story with me all day. Not for the lighthearted reader.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Marianne L.

    This book was very human. I could feel the unique family dynamics and narrow mindedness of religious beliefs. I enjoyed every second of it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Lisa B.

    I absolutely loved this book and the narration. I even downloaded a kindle addition so I could actually experience reading Tara’s words directly. A stunning story about almost every aspect of the human condition!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Unknown U.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was haunting and funny and hard to “put down”. Great read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Brandi S.

    Excellent book!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Justyna B.

    Astonishing story, amazingly told. Thank you Tara for sharing your life with us. I admire you!!! Chapeau bas! Narrator fantastic!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Teresa W.

    An excellent read, goes to show you that no matter how many obstacles you have in front of you, if you work had almost anything is possible. Truly an inspirational read. Totally recommend this book

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Jennifer J.

    I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. It didn’t take me long to decide that I loved it! I found all of the psychological aspects interesting and heart breaking. I think this book is more about resilience and overcoming the odds than it is about education, although that is a big deal. I relate to the author more than I thought I would. The family dynamics may be over different topics, but unfortunately, I bet many people can relate.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Biffy J

    I thought this book was fantastic. There were so many elements to it, I will have to listen again to grasp them all.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Jessica H.

    If it didn’t have “memoir” on it it would have easily been fiction; simply for the wild truths. The amount of obstacles, physically and mentally, that Tara managed to overcome are without a doubt awesomely inspiring. There’s not much more to say than that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • T T.

    Very interesting story but didn't need to be as long or drawn out. The characters were vivid though some seemed to be introduced then of very little relevance. I will say, I am often very annoyed by the narrator and I thought this narration was excellent and well-suited.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent, we did this true story in our book club, lots of topics to talk about.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent narration and story. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Robin B.

    Excellent story and narration

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Susan L

    This was a really great read. My only criticism would be it felt a bit repetitive at times. However, I did thoroughly enjoy it and the narrator was great!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Angela P.

    Fantastic memoir! A MUST read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    A Must read for every book club!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • LCaldwell

    So very good! Wow! What an education in and out of the classroom.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    A tragic and mesmerizing memoir of humanity that is occurring right now in modern times. This book will have you grasping to define right and wrong through perspectives beyond your own.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Leigh Ann R.

    best book in 2020!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Very hard to hear but even harder to stop listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jeffrey B.

    Incredible story

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Silvia S.

    An exceptional story. I enjoyed every minute of this audio book. I highly recommend it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Shana C.

    great listen

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • MimiKS

    It was a good book. I did feel like I had to really pay attention so had to back it up a couple of times but I liked it. It would get a little slow at times but would quickly pick up so stay with it! I would recommend it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Judith G.

    What an amazing story!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Annie A.

    This book was very well written and extremely difficult to listen to. It was painful and infuriating and heartbreaking and hopeful and important.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Janice B.

    I really enjoyed this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Susan Rollenhagen

    I'd recommend this book, interesting and thought provoking. Written well and narrated well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • GMac

    Captivating and engrossing. Anyone who grew up as a sheltered child, especially in a strictly conservative and especially a highly religious environment will find parallels to their own childhood. Echoes of my own past resounded throughout this narrative. Sometimes I yelled at the narrator when Tara did something that I knew she should not, or when she was self-destructive. Listen for yourself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tracy S.

    Great book. Very interesting plot and it was really easy to get into it and almost feel like I’m in the book myself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jill W.

    Great book! Highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Janice O.

    Very enlightening. Wonderful book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    I sometimes felt this story couldn't be real how absurd some of the things her dad did and the way they lived. The fact that she physically and emotionally, not only survived but thrived is a true testament to a person's drive. I loved this book and will reread it again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Hilary strefling

    oh. my. goodness!! I LOVED this book! My mind was blown almost every step of the way. Excellent example of how we can be the ones in true control of life and choices.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • KateinSD

    Fascinating and so unbelievable that this is a true story. Our book club loved it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Lynn T.

    This book was by far one of my favorite books to listen to. It totally absorbed me. It was thought provoking. It stays with you when it’s finished. Her writing and descriptions are superb. The struggle she incurred and abuse in her mind is so horrific . She is absolutely a brilliant human who survived endured torture and prevailed. Loved this and the person reading it was fantastic

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Darnell R.

    Very good read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Lauren S.

    Illuminating in so many ways.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing story!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Very good book. So many questions arise about society, God, children, mental health and overall global prosperity. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tiffany B.

    I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but this book reads like fiction. It’s great and unbelievable that it’s true.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sussan C.

    Great book and captivating and the narrator was amazing. Tara’s story gave a great insight to her (and probably many others) struggles with religion and family dynamics. I’m sure it was a painful journey to tell her story and I thank her for sharing it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Cyn K.

    Gripping story that held me beginning to end even if I found the ride a little exhausting. I got emotionally wrapped up in Tara's story and more than once caught myself holding my breath. I even got angry at her for her repeated efforts to make it work with her family as I'd have given up long ago. Terrific book. Highly recommend. I do tend to not like it when narrators affect the tone of their opposite gender. It usually sounds comical to me and I'd rather just hear the reader's voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Great writing, narrating and a gripping story. It’s a fascinating rags to riches ethnography and I highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Daniel S.

    Great book! Definitely recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jessica H.

    Most captivating and emotionally moving memoir I've read in a long while. Couldn't stop listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I had known how traumatizing this book would be. I would not have read it. I found myself curled up in a fetal position after I was done. That does speak to the descriptiveness of the writer. In my opinion, the relentless abuse faced by the author was not balanced with a healing journey of recovery. So even though she emerged from the pit of hell, I felt like I was still covered in her shame and stigma.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Roger C.

    Very interesting how mind control works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Harry H.

    Its as good as they say... I spent the the whole book shouting out loud "when are you going to wake up and smell the coffee?".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Carol A.

    Beautifully written, fascinating story! I’ve loved listening to this narrator before, and she did an excellent job with this book as well!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jonathan R.

    Once you start, you WILL NOT be able to stop it. A life we will be discussing for decades to come.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Fredrika H.

    Excellent narration!!!! Fascinating story and told superbly. It’s one of only a very few I go back to listen to because it’s just that good. The details all the way to the cover of the book are just spot on in getting and keeping ones attention

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Leann M.

    Great book! This is an amazing story about the struggles with family beliefs and ones own beliefs. The events told here were shocking, An emotional journey that grapples with loyalty, Love and faith. A must read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Angela G.

    Couldn’t get enough of this memoir! Brilliant writing. A story that truly touches upon so much. Powerful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    An epic true story of triumph and the power of the human soul!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Nicki C.

    This memoir was compelling, heart wrenching and enlightening all at once. It brought to light a whole different way of life that many of us can’t even imagine. Tara is a superb writer and a strong person who found her way through all her family abuse and strong beliefs and followed a different path to become a scholar. I love strong women characters and Tara is certainly one. The narrator is amazing as well. Loved this book. If you don’t read it, you’ll miss out...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Hope B.

    This book was very interesting. In the climate of advancement and technology who would think that there are some children out there not receiving an education due to having zealots for parents. Great topic and written beautifully.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kelley S.

    Very good read/listen. Very heavy, had to listen in sections and listen to something else in between, but a very good book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Maria Y.

    Captivating and inspiring story. Couldn’t stop listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • David S.

    Excellent all around.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tracy C.

    I really enjoyed the book and the narration was great. The story is compelling. If you enjoyed The Glass Castle, you'll like Educated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kelley S.

    Stunning book! Narrator is gripping in style and tone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sérgio M.

    Inspirational life story

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jillian R.

    This story was absolutely amazing!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Stephanie M.

    I was raised Mormon in the White Mountains in Arizona... very small area with little diversity other than Native Americans and an immense white populous. The only African American child I had ever seen was adopted by one of two doctors. I broke away when I moved to Seattle where I, too, received an "education" - yet always more to grow. I loved, loved this story and understand her extreme struggles - although my comparison is nothing to hers. Tara is an absolute inspiration and I wish the world for her and her extended family. AMAZING story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Eric S.

    I you love the Glass Castle you will love this story also! Well written, well read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tara M.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Great book. IT was so interesting. I want to meet this person! This would be a great movie!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Julie Ann S.

    Fabulous. Great discussion for my book club.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kristi S.

    This narrator is wonderful! She also narrated “The Great Alone” about Alaska. I recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Pam W.

    Loved this book, especially because it's tragically true. Narrator was great and able to effectively differentiate voices.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Eva P.

    Amazing story!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Nadine R.

    One of the best books I’ve “read” in a long time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jennifer B.

    Amazing journey and inspiring story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Diane G.

    Hard to believe this is nonfiction!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Crazy book. Gotta love religious survivalists. Great style of writing. She really makes you understand what it’s like to be on both sides of her life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Ellen B.

    Although there are dark moments in an all to true story? The writing and triumph is amazing and worth reading

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Cindy B.

    My favorite reads are memoirs/biographies, and this one did not disappoint. It is, at times, unbelievable what the author endured. However, it is her enduring formidable spirit that kept me unable to stop listening. I am still astounded at the level of education she achieved and how it changed her life. I would recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Virginia M.

    Gripping and haunting. So very glad I read this book. But I will admit that the author's repeated battles with herself and her family- always striving for their approval, acceptance and love will make your heart ache. Amazing that Tara Westover emerged on the other side, (although w lifelong bruises) so well adapted, with a solid understanding that it is not her fault she was raised by a manic depressive parent, surrounded by dysfunctional definition that love is conditional. Tara, as you have grown to realize, love is the opposite, true love is unconditional. The narrator was a wonderful choice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Ellie G.

    Gripping.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Catarina J.

    Loved this book! Couldn’t stop listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tara S.

    Fantastic. Couldn’t stop listening

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Audriona Y.

    Such a good book!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Nicole P.

    I liked this book and the many layers to it. Interesting and eye-opening read. I appreciated her disclosure at the beginning that this book didn't disparage the Mormon religion because her experience definitely doesn't reflect the religion but a more extreme form. But makes me appreciate the book and her experience even more, how even good things taken too far and out of context can be damaging.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Margalit W.

    Loved this book! Amazing story of strength, resilience and overcoming ones history. So engaging could not put it down. Excellent writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Susan M.

    This book is amazing and had a huge impact on me. It should be required reading for 8-9th graders. Explains how abuse and mental illness in families continues for years due to denial. I admire Tara immensely for her courage to endure, confront and seek help. She has proven that change can happen even during horrid circumstances. Heroic and inspiring!!!! 5 star in every way!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sandra T.

    Extraordinary journey

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tiffany D.

    Amazing!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Patrice N.

    This was an excellent read. The loyalty to her family was troubling. As much as she suffered, she continued to try and understand it all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Janas D.

    Interesting story that gives you insight into the radical right. Her voice is loud and clear; her journey is inspiring. The narrator becomes the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Karen M.

    Fantastic book from start to finish. It's more than a coming of age story, It's a story about self realization and the loss that comes with it. It's an against all odds story that is griping and fantastical. It's a primer on cult-like behavior and how unaddressed mental illness can tear apart a family. The author's voice is important and I hope she continues to write about these topics. A must read for everyone. Narration was one of the best I've heard which greatly added to my enjoyment.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing book. Thanks, Tara for sharing your story!

  • Anonymous

    I have never experienced such strong emotions when reading . Excellent. It just took her so long...

  • Jodi-lee T.

    This was truly the most authentic and awe inspiring books I have ever read. A life journey like this had to be documented and shared. I started writing my own book and memoir after reading this and it made me feel so much more courageous and fired up to do so.Honestly, the overwhelming message through was that regardless of your “education” and family restraints you can do anything and overcome any situation. I would love to sit down and have a cup of tea with Tara one day in person. I feel like she has exposed so much of her inner strength and needs a huge hug and thank you.

  • Anonymous

    great book

  • Lisa H.

    Did not appreciate the book.

  • Gracen F.

    Loved it. Great story of fortitude.

  • Anonymous

    what a fantastic story, the writer is beautifully articulate

  • Sonya K.

    Wow. Sad to say I related but so glad I wasn’t the only one. Thank goodness for education!

  • Deborah K.

    I had a very hard time believing a lot of this story.

  • Tiffany W.

    Loved it! Fascinating this story and resilience

  • Zeina A.

    Loved loved loved it..

  • Anonymous

    A wonderful story, very intense at times, but very real (it is about a real person after all).

  • Sara K.

    I loved the message and only made sense at the very last chapters of the book! But overall a great book and very well written .

  • Rona W.

    Progressive. Provoking. Promising.

  • Olympia A.

    This was an incredibly tough read for me, not because of the writing, but because of the story. This book is about abuse and denial and the strength to overcome.

  • NK B.

    Best narrator EVER! LOVED THE BOOK.

  • Erica B.

    A little slow, but definitely made you want to know the ending. Need to break the book up with something light.

  • Bev G.

    Great read, highly recommend

  • El?na A.

    Excellent book! Hard story, painful, unbelievable at times but makes one think a lot about family and values. Wonderful narrator.

  • Mara Popinsa

    Vey interesting story thatbjust draws you in and before you know it you have been listening it all in one weekend.. Especially intrresting in these times to see how radicalisation of society can be rooted in fear, mental illness and economical factors.

  • Gerald G.

    A great story...well told and expertly narrated.

  • Briana W.

    Captivating from start to finish.

  • Jayce D.

    This book felt like the publisher took all of the author's journals and published it! It felt long and drawn out and I wanted to feel sorry for the family but things kept going wrong and I felt my hand going up to my face too many times. I wonder what did the author learn from all this and what does she do now that shes out of that horrible situation...

  • Anonymous

    The author just comes off as whiny. She even admits that her memories and her journal entries of several incidents are inaccurate, but then expects the reader to whole-heartedly accept her version of events when it is convenient for her.

Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover

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Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover
Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover
This title is due for release on February 20, 2018.

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