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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

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 17 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 in her father's junkyard. 

Her father forbade hospitals, 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 one of Tara's older brothers became violent. 

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important 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. 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 with severing the closest of 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. 

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Editorial Review

Born in a strict and remote Mormon family, where homeschooling is a vague concept, would you have the courage and drive to leave everything you knew to become educated?

Tara Westover’s Unabridged Educated is an inspiring and shocking memoir that you must hear to believe. This triumphant and groundbreaking novel recounts a unique and moving true story of a young girl secluded from civilization and living in rural Idaho who - against all odds - overcomes the shortcomings of her survivalist upbringing to become an educated, integrated part of everyday society. Westover’s drive to teach herself and learn is a powerful, moving force in her fantastic story. Not only did her education open her eyes to events and concepts she was previously unaware of, but learning and growing her knowledge opened her eyes to a whole new way of being beyond survivalism and a new sense of self.

Educated beautifully describes a coming-of-age story rooted in searching for and reinventing one's sense of self. One of the best books of 2018, Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner and a New York Times bestseller, it is wonderfully told and full of a wide range of emotions. From the triumph and pride of Westover’s successful admission to Brigham Young University and later Harvard and Cambridge University to the pains of breaking contact with family members and older brothers and striking out on her own, it is a whirlwind of feeling and realization. It has been hailed as one of the best memoirs of recent years and a triumphant first book from this debut author.

Julia Whelan voices this riveting tale with power and vulnerability, bringing Westover’s words and experiences to life. Moving, engaging, and full of life, it is an audiobook that delivers a captivating listening experience. You will find yourself fully engrossed in the story, desperate to know how it all turned out. Hailed as one of the best audiobooks and books of the year of 2018, Educated is a must-hear story of a young woman who journeys far from home for the first time. She works hard to create her sense of self and obtain a formal education but finds that maybe her roots were a little more important than she thought.

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What listeners say about Educated

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Hard to listen to at times

I had to put this book down for a month about halfway through before I could pick it up again. It was hard to listen to the author's recollections of the same violent manipulations and careless accidents over and over again, and even harder to listen to the author's endless attempts to justify or rationalise the violence. This isn't a criticism of the author, exactly, but it was just too much for me. The narration and performance was amazing, though; probably one of the only reasons I gave it another try.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Vee
  • 2018-09-14

A Memoir

Educated is one of the best books I have read in a very long time.
When I finished it I immediately listened to it again. It was like I couldn't believe some of the details described and wanted to confirm that was what I had heard.
A story of sadness but also happy times in the family, physical abuse by a brother who sounds like he too suffers from some form of mental illness and not just the father. A mother who tells her daughter she believes her stories of abuse but then denies them as she refuses to go against her husband.
Tara's life is one of triumph against all odds. A person who was denied an education in her youth and yet took herself farther than most people who have all the benefits of growing up in a normal family.
I would love to hear of what this lady is able to accomplish in the coming years. I look forward to a second book.
#Audible1

39 people found this helpful

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Dissappointing

The story is too long and just drags on and on. After reading all the positive reviews I was looking forward to listening to an interesting story but I was truly disappointed. I kept on listening believing something would bring around to a climax but nothing happens to Sean nor the father and we didn’t even learn what Tara did with all that education. The narrator does a good 4 star job but the story only deserves 3 stars.

10 people found this helpful

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Transported into another life

Before I started this book, I was expecting a more dry academic read, but what I got was a fully immersive book for the ages. I was shocked at the reality of Tara’s life in her Mormon family, the stark difference of it from my imagining of North American society was a griping reminder of my own ignorance. This book somehow managed to be a charged plot driven narrative and a scholarly text, worthy of its own place in university syllabi. I was transported into Tara’s life in Idaho and fully understood her rational as she struggled with themes of family loyalty, abuse, education, faith, and trust in herself. I don’t think I have ever read a memoir that I didn’t want to put down before. At the same time, it reminds me of something I might read in perhaps one of my women’s studies courses, an English course or even a religions course.

7 people found this helpful

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Amazing story of life beyond abuse

Couldn't put it down Its a story about growing and developing into your own person

7 people found this helpful

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  • EW
  • 2018-08-22

Great writing, great true story

While education is undoubtedly the hero of the story, the characters from the author's life are all heroes, although some are sad or lost. There is a warmth rather than an accusation as she retells her life. Although at first the reader wasn't for me, I now can't imagine a different narrator, she embodies the voice of the author. Do yourself a favour and listen to this.

22 people found this helpful

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Incredible biography

This shows just how resilient human beings are. From the depths of poverty and abuse some people manage to rise above and this is one of those stories. It’s just a great listen. Seems like it was meant for audible.

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Excellent

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narrator does an excellent job and the story itself is fascinating.

CW: Abuse and gas-lighting.

3 people found this helpful

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Jaw Dropping!

This book is incredible. I applaud Tara Westover for telling her story in such a raw yet heartfelt way. There were so many jaw dropping moments in this book. It’s hard to believe that there are those who live a life unlike anyone else. I highly recommend this book!

7 people found this helpful

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A very engaging read

It was an extremely well-written book that provoked thought. It gave me insight into my relationship with my parents and I continue to process the material. I highly recommend this book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • JuliaPer
  • 2019-03-31

Slow start but great overall

I found it difficult to get into this book at first and if it wasn’t my only entertainment on a four hour plan ride, I’m not sure I would have stuck with it, but I’m so glad I did. It’s an unbelievable extreme example of what happens when we live in cloistered echo chambers and what the result can be when we get out from it - very apt for this time and place. For those comparing it to the Glass Castle, I totally agree, although Educated lacks some of the charm of that book, not because the Glass Castle is a better book but because father in Castle is simply mare charming.

I will say, if you have any experience with physical or emotional abuse, this book can be triggering but also provides some good tools to ultimately manage that trauma (through counselling).

Regarding the performance, I didn’t love when the narrator changed voices for the brother Sean and the father. It was more caricature than character to me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kaylin
  • 2019-07-13

a must read

loved this book. it is a must read memoir! the performance ia gripping and the story keeps you wanting more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 2019-03-09

Full of admiration for the author

Really really good. Gives an insight into a life that is so different from my own - but with so many similarities. I wish the author all the best in her future life, and I think she is one of the strongest people I have ever "met" through literature. Recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • B. Borrowman
  • 2019-07-18

Fascinating and difficult to put down.

I couldn't put this book down. Fascinating story that makes you think.
Reader tells the story very well.
The youngest girl in a family tells of growing up in a survivalist family. She doesnt go to school like the others in her family. She tells the story of growing up. Sad in places, but inspiring too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sanchia
  • 2019-07-12

Enlightening

I finished this book in a week. i couldn't stop listening. this story, memoir is so powerful. it's truly amazing to hear where Tara came from and what she overcame to become who she is. excellent book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Smith Family
  • 2019-03-24

I have no words.

An incredible and unbelievable story. The best book I’ve read/listened to this year. A must read!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vela
  • 2019-03-23

sobbing

It's a pity that parents don't have to pass the certificate exams.
May we all survive our relationships - family, friends and the one we love.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karen W. Lam
  • 2019-05-25

Unrelenting, Utterly Hynoptic

A good friend whose taste I trust implicitly recommended this book wholeheartedly. She said the writer was Mormon but did not mention that she was raised as a survivalist, with a use and gas-lighting as part of her entire life. The book is harrowing, painful and yet I could not turn away. It felt so deeply personal and affected me in how I look at so many of my own relationships,albeit my life has little in common with hers. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Christina
  • 2022-07-24

Could not put it down!!

Absolutely loved every moment of this book. It made me both nervous and excited for what would happen. I will 100% be listening to this more than once. Unbelievable story, what an insight into a life I could never imagine excited.

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  • Jennifer
  • 2022-07-04

Makes you angry and annoyed

I found myself so angry and annoyed as I read this book. I felt like it left a lot of open ended questions. It’s border line child abuse the way the parents treat these kids, hard to believe this is based on the actual life of Tara.
I did finish the book but I didn’t love it. Would I recommend it? - probably not.