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.
So raw. So real. So unbelievably extraordinary. Tara Westover grew up in some ways like many kids… that is, knowing only what she witnessed everyday; knowing only what her parents taught her to believe. Conversely, what she sees and her family believes everyday, does not fit the societal norm.
At first, I reserved judgement on her mother and father’s parenting practices. I kept saying; just because it isn’t the way I grew up, doesn’t mean it’s “wrong”. I kept reading…
Some things just didn’t add up. As a parent, a daughter, and a wife, there are just some things it is too difficult not to pass judgement about. For example…if your child suffers a life threatening illness or injury, taking them to seek medical attention is non negotiable. I tried to adjust my thinking and physically kept telling myself to stop passing judgement. I kept reading ….
Tara’s father was, at first, my least favorite person. He was overbearing, unforgiving, and seemingly unbearable. His ideologies were extreme and he was unwilling to compromise or see others who believed differently in a positive way. His behavior toward others was unwavering and abusive. I kept reading…
At this point, I’m actually sick of the thoughts about using herbs to heal. I mean, I’m fine with the natural healing process and using remedies from nature. But… there’s a line and they crossed it. I know this is an opinion but it’s my review so I’ll just leave it at that. With that said, this is a memoir so I 100% believe that Tara Westover is a brave, courageous, independent woman who began thinking differently about her family beliefs and started acting on them. I kept reading…
After her brother goes mad, their lives are riddled with danger and no one is aloud to seek medical attention…. I’m about done with any shred of hope that Tara’s father meant well.
Now, earlier in my review I said that her father was my least favorite person. I was wrong. I don’t care how dedicated you are to your husband, NO ONE would get away with treating my kids badly. With no exception would I ever put them at risk or in harms way. So for that reason… mom moves to number one on my least favorite person list.
In conclusion, as I don’t what to reveal too much, Tara is a role model to all women. She had the courage to listen to her heart. She followed her dreams and now has shared her story with others. She is Amazing!
HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend!!
Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for a decade. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.