Reviewed by Adelaide Speyrer
Educated by Tara Westover is an inspiring story of personal strength. It is a memoir of her experiences growing up in a family with a bipolar survivalist father and abusive brother. Having never stepped into a formal learning environment until she was seventeen years old, Westover tells of her struggles with getting and staying in college.
The most interesting part of reading about Westover’s lifestyle is learning about how her family handles medical emergencies. Since her family does not believe in government institutions, they refuse to get help from doctors or hospitals for illnesses and injuries. For example, Westover describes a memory of when her father is driving the family home late one night and falls asleep at the wheel, causing the car to go off the road and flip upside down. A person’s immediate instinct in this situation is to call 911, but for Tara’s family, that isn’t an option. They instead go straight home, despite the obvious injury that her mother suffers, which is later found out to be brain damage from hitting her head. How Westover gets out of the toxic situation, along with how much she is able to achieve afterwards, is what makes her story truly spectacular.
Westover’s memoir is a book that anyone can benefit from reading. Her inspiring story is one that can teach the world about the importance of perseverance, and more importantly, education.
Adelaide Speyrer was a junior in the Gifted program at Hahnville High. She is in the Future Business Leaders of America club and plays French horn in the band.
Editor’s note: Book reviews are published throughout the summer and fall in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program and Unger’s “Adolescents Advocate Literacy” Brown Service Learning Grant.