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Book Review : Educated by Tara Westover

Aarthi asked me to read this book. For the past five days, I have been reading and living the life of Tara Westover. Aarthi’s review of the book is apt and very well written.

Aarthi Ramalingam writes

What a story! I think this may be the first time I’ve struggled with rating a memoir. For some reason, it feels like I’ll be diminishing her life story to an arbitrary number system. So I’m not going to do it. But I felt compelled to write my longest review. Here it goes.

Yesterday, I read a viral social media post about how we dismiss people with opposing thoughts and beliefs by using words like “he must be from another planet.” With most people, we can shake our heads, ignore, and move on with our lives. But when it comes to parents and immediate family, it’s completely different. With our childhood defining who we are as adults, we almost always find it difficult to reconcile what we have always known and believed and acted with whatever new’s thrown at us, even when know that it is absolutely necessary.

Tara’s struggle is just that, but in ways I can’t even wrap my head around. Her parents, especially her father, might as well have been living in a different planet. Letting that past, that belief system go would mean erasing her entire childhood. While she has come a few light years since the first time she left home, I believe she’s still struggling to do that. In one of the interviews I’d seen, she’d mentioned about how this book isn’t about Mormonism. As a reader, I see her faith as yet another main character that defined who she is today. She might as well be saying this isn’t about her father, mother, brother, or the rest of her family. The book is about these people as well as much as it is not.

Even though her achievements are incredible and inspiring, this difficulty she has in trying to reconcile the past with her present, while trying to retain who she is, is what I liked best about the book. As an author, she has done an excellent job of drawing me into her life, making me feel and think all that she has felt & thought. I highly recommend it and think people should get to know this story, not only for who Tara is and what she has done, but also to know the kind of lives some people lead in this world.

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