A Memoir

Book - 2018
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"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"
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399590504
Branch Call Number: B WESTOVER 2018
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 11, 2018

What a tribute to the resilience of the author and the human spirit. Just a supportive word at a crisis point gives her the strength to go on. Fortunately, she also had some very good professional help and encouraging teachers who could see the unique viewpoint gained from her early life and her struggle to educate herself. Every member of her family had a struggle to survive. Their father seems to have had no connection in his mind between cause and effect. Therefore, accidents in the scrap yard were inevitable and recovery from these gives evidence that humans can recover from really horrendous physical injury with minimal medical intervention. Westover does not dwell on these, but the recovery from her mental injuries seems to hinge on trying to confront her family members. This finally convinces her that a few of them will continue a relationship with her; but her parents will be estranged. Perhaps, this will be something that she will have to accept; and it seems, at the end of the book, that she has; but she's young enough to have more life chapters left.

Apr 05, 2018

An amazing chronicle of an abusive, isolated and restrictive childhood survived and overcome. Tara Westover is raised in rural Idaho by her Mormon fundamentalist, government-fearing, delusional father and submissive mother. Rejecting formal education and medicine, the children are not encouraged to learn and are allowed only home remedies for illness and the sometimes horrific injuries they suffer. Tara is also brutalized by an old brother--abuse most of the family denies. Eventually Tara along with several brothers begins to learn on her own and leaves the family home for college. Surviving and leaving is a victory but the meat of the book is about what happens to Tara mentally. How she is affected by abuse and ignorance. How she tries to reconcile the two halves of her life: home vs the wider world. Ignorance vs knowledge. Fear and pain vs joy. And the two halves of her self. Her father's daughter and adult. Riveting, painful and ultimately joyful it's an unforgettable memoir.

mko123 Mar 26, 2018

Tara grows up in rural idaho with a fanatical religious father, a deferential mother, and a slew of sisters and brothers, Sean being the most charming, yet dangerous. Tara learns about physics by ducking metal objects in the junk yard being flung by her scrapper father, and she learns to read by only the Bible and the Book of Morman. Tara's memoir is a search not only for an education but also a quest for her own voice. She has been so beaten down and indoctrinated by the men in her family, that she feels she can hardly breath. A heavy price must be paid for bucking the family. Tara is a courageous new voice and her story is unbelievable.

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

This is such an incredible memoir. Tara is so honest about her escape from fundamentalism
with no education beyond homeschooling to the halls of Harvard and Cambridge and the ensuing mental breakdown. She treats everyone, even the worst and even herself, with such empathy.

Mayflower94 Mar 14, 2018


StaceyM_KCMO Mar 09, 2018

Though this memoir can be tough to read at times (due to subjects such as violence and emotional/physical abuse), it is a heartfelt and emotional testament to the power of believing in yourself even when your family doesn't. Tara Westover learns through the power of education that self-acceptance and self-worth is not measured by your family roots, but rather through determination to succeed and be happy with decisions you make in your life. A redemptive, powerful read that focuses on dealing with life choices and carving out a place for yourself in the world.

DPLalyssab Mar 08, 2018

Extraordinary memoir illustrating the power of education.

Mar 03, 2018

Could not put this one down once I started it. I am shocked at what people can do to others and how someone can come out so well with this background. Just so hard to believe and I admire the author for being able to tell her story. Hope she writes more books for our pleasure.

Mar 01, 2018

Riveting memoir !! Told without self pity somewhat like the style of 'The Glass Castle' . Her odd family are survivalists living in the rural midwest USA, and despite her weird and crazy upbringing, she manages to educate herself and escape to a better life. Very traumatizing childhood. Very well written.

Mar 01, 2018

What a gripping story this was. Tara Westover's personal story of her unconventional childhood and how she used education to rise above it was a very interesting, readable and inspiring tale. It is the kind of book that opens your eyes and teaches you about the world while still being an engrossing read. This will be on my 2018 recommendation list for sure.

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DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”


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