Book of The Month: Educated by Tara Westover
I crossed Educated off my list when it first came out. Everyone was like...Hey, did you read Educated? When you read it will you talk with me about it? Read Educated, you will L-O-V-E it!! So I looked it up, figured out what it was about (without reading it), and chalked it up to being another memoir about a woman with a crazy dad. At the time, I was in the process of disentangling with my ex-husband and had no interest in reading anything about someone's bohemian, wild, possibly bi-polar and abusive father. But, it turns out that’s not what the story is really about.
Tara Westover is first and foremost an ethereal writer. My body responds to her words, her sentences literally give me goosebumps. She gives language to subtleties of the human experience that I have been at a loss to describe for decades. Her insatiable curiosity and quest to understand both herself and the world around her lends to a quality of space and expansiveness that many memoirs fail to achieve. In this book exists a universe. Her story speaks for many stories. Her life is all of our lives. Her learning can become our learning. Her unbecoming is our unbecoming.
And that’s what this book is really about, Educated describes an unbecoming, an unraveling of the stories Tara’s fa
mily created around her to stay safe, to stay right, and to allow for and justify the abuse and neglect that transpired. And, like all human stories, it’s not all bad times and hard luck. There’s love here. There’s grace and forgiveness and wonder. Dark and light, all of it, all at once. The stories of Tara’s father eventually wove themselves into an identity, her identity, and the real service of this book is that the reader is granted a window into what it feels like to unbecome. To begin to stand in the center of ourselves and become curious, “Is this story, this belief system I have been living with true for me?” Any piece of art worth its salt, speaks to something universal inside of all of us, and you will find that here, in Educated, no matter who you are, no matter how you were raised because the understanding that some of our belief systems simply aren’t real, aren’t true for us, and that we have the choice to rewire ourselves as adults is part of the path toward freedom and a deeper connection with of our own inner wisdom.