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Educated: A Memoir

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Tara Westover

Narrated By: Julia Whelan

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: February 2018

Duration: 12 hours 10 minutes


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”—USA Today

“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The 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 an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. 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.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.


  • 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.

    4 of 4 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.

    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!

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Audriona Y.

    Such a good book!!

  • 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.

  • Margalit W.

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Sandra T.

    Extraordinary journey