I know I can’t always be right but this time I was wrong.
Because of the many celebrity endorsements and publicity, I dismissed Tara Westover’s book Educated. I interpreted the raves as a sales pitch compensating for flaws and I wasn’t buying. After I finally read it, I realized my snap judgment wasn’t correct. In case you also dismissed the long list of five-star reviews and haven’t experienced Educated, this is my analysis for your renewed consideration.
Aside from over-riding the endorsements, I also formed incorrect ideas about the book’s themes based on the title. At first, I imagined it would cover how school alone impacted the author’s life or it contained essays on the state of education in America. While these might have been of interest, I was completely wrong. “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” suddenly became personally meaningful. I started thinking about other ideas I’d formed, re-examined and re-adjusted after becoming more educated!
Educated is the story of the author’s arduous, courageous journey of self-discovery. And what a trip it is. She learns to turn up the volume of her own voice over the demanding, threatening, alienating voices and actions of others. Beautifully described and at times harrowing, it’s about a years-long family crisis, almost breaking the author but ultimately resulting in a profound birth of a liberated human being. I pushed on reading, barely able to take a break as I travelled along her path.
I found Educated to be so powerful that after reading the last page, I wrote a letter to the author. Her life, the complexity of her struggles, challenging choices and extraordinary courage inspired and haunted me for days. Her journey and liberation cost dearly. But then she’s free.
Two thumbs way up – belatedly!