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April 2019: History > Educated, by Tara Westover, 5 stars [Trim TBR]

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited Apr 06, 2019 09:32AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Wow, this book far exceeded my expectations. (I guess I was anticipating something like Hillbilly Elegy. It's much better.) I'm already making a gift list of relatives and friends who might like it. I know I'll want to read it again some day. There was more drama than I expected, and also more emotional and intellectual substance.

Tara Westover is a girl who grew up in a family with strong traditional Mormon values, though the author is quick to point out that her family is not representative of other Mormon families. Her father has extreme views about the government, medicine and compulsory education (he hates them all). Her father employed his children (even minors) in the family business (a junkyard) and they suffered many injuries and burns due to unsafe conditions and practices. Her family was not allowed to question his authority, judgment or opinions. He often "gave testimony" as though his opinions came straight from God.

The children were taught to read by reading the Mormon Bible, but their home schooling was spotty beyond that. Tara never learned about the Holocaust or the Civil Rights movement until she went to college. She became hungry to learn more about history and eventually earned a PhD. Some of the best lessons Tara learned involved identity, family, and a deep understanding of how history is made and written.

Note - We have a buddy read this month on this book, so if you have read the book, please stop by to add to the comments.

I watched an interview of Tara online and at that time, she didn't know what she would be doing next. Most PhD programs require candidates to teach undergraduate courses, and I was hoping to hear how she found that experience.


message 2: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5766 comments Great review, Nancy. There was indeed much drama. I felt on the edge of my seat as I read it.


message 3: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2322 comments This is such an interesting book - like you, I have recommended it and gifted it to a wide variety of people. It’s so well written (deceptively straightforward and matter-of-fact) and such a powerful narrative. I was amazed by how un-sorry for herself she appeared to be despite the obvious difficulty and ongoing pain of making the choices she did.


message 4: by Holly R W (new)

Holly R W | 1255 comments I have not yet read the book. However, I just watched a video of the author on Facebook. For those of you who may be interested, the journalist Nicholas Kristof interviewed her just yesterday, with people calling in with questions. To find the interview, look on Nicholas Kristof's FB page.


message 5: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5766 comments Thanks, Holly, I'll check it out.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Holly R W wrote: "I have not yet read the book. However, I just watched a video of the author on Facebook. For those of you who may be interested, the journalist Nicholas Kristof interviewed her just yesterday, with..."

I'm going to check this out. Thanks for the link.


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8519 comments Just noting yet again, that against the sound and sage advice I’ve virtually everyone I know online and off, I still have absolutely no desire to pick up this five-star read.


message 8: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7472 comments Amy wrote: "Just noting yet again, that against the sound and sage advice I’ve virtually everyone I know online and off, I still have absolutely no desire to pick up this five-star read."

Oh Good-I thought I was alone on this-


message 9: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8519 comments Just found out that Joanne and I are reading the same book right now! New twins.


message 10: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 6669 comments My hold on this from NYPL just today downloaded, so I will be joining this discussion even though it is not my TRIM TBR pick this month. I'll be starting it soon. I have another NYPL ebook out that has to be read first, and I have a couple of bits of fluff reading at the moment.

@Amy - I'm with you in not having been overly inspired to read this. However, for the 2019 Around the Year Challenge I need a book that is from 2018 GR Choice Awards - and Educated is about the only book that I both have not read already and would actually consider or even tolerate reading. I had already added myself some time ago to the ebook hold list at NYPL thinking that it might come in handy in a challenge...and I wasn't completely averse to reading it.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "Just noting yet again, that against the sound and sage advice I’ve virtually everyone I know online and off, I still have absolutely no desire to pick up this five-star read."
You are missing out Amy.:)


message 12: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Holly R W wrote: "I have not yet read the book. However, I just watched a video of the author on Facebook. For those of you who may be interested, the journalist Nicholas Kristof interviewed her just yesterday, with..."

Thanks Holly!


message 13: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Theresa wrote: "My hold on this from NYPL just today downloaded, so I will be joining this discussion even though it is not my TRIM TBR pick this month. I'll be starting it soon. I have another NYPL ebook out that..."

I hope you like it Theresa. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


message 14: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5766 comments Amy wrote: "Just noting yet again, that against the sound and sage advice I’ve virtually everyone I know online and off, I still have absolutely no desire to pick up this five-star read."

Amy, I am sure you would have some professional insights, because I'm pretty sure there is something going on in the family dynamic beyond survival-ism and fundamentalist religion.


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8519 comments You know, unless I am surprised, I sort of stay away from trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. Also anyone kidnapping and murdering children. I also don't particularly revel in or enjoy cancer. Crazy that I so enjoy World War I and II. I just feel like everyone says this is excellent, but its not a story I need to read. I bet everyone has a book like that. Something everyone else is saying is excellent, but they just can't bring themselves to it.


message 16: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5766 comments Amy wrote: "You know, unless I am surprised, I sort of stay away from trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. Also anyone kidnapping and murdering children. I also don't particularly revel in o..."

Amy, I know just what you mean. My goal is always to read as many 4 and 5 star books for myself as I can. There are some books which everyone seems to love but they don't resonate with me. I know myself and my habits, so I choose wisely.

While, I would appreciate your opinion, Educated is definitely saturated with "trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia."


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "You know, unless I am surprised, I sort of stay away from trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. Also anyone kidnapping and murdering children. I also don't particularly revel in o..."

Amy, I am sure working in the field you do the last thing you want to read about it the things you have listed. I stopped reading anything regarding bi-polar, depression for a long time because it is a daily experience for me with my son. I only started reading again in the last year but for me it is more of a search in reading others stories and how they deal with these issues. If this makes any sense at all.:)


message 18: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7472 comments Rachel wrote: "Amy wrote: "You know, unless I am surprised, I sort of stay away from trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. Also anyone kidnapping and murdering children. I also don't particularl..."

I am not sure I knew your son was bi-polar Rachel. My husband is bi-polar and suffers depression and I am legal guardian of my sister who also suffers with bi-polar(hers being much worse). Probably why this book tuned me off at the get go.


message 19: by NancyJ (last edited Apr 09, 2019 06:37AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Rachel wrote: "I stopped reading anything regarding bi-polar, depression for a long time because it is a daily experience for me with my son. I only started reading again in the last year but for me it is more of a search in reading others stories and how they deal with these issues. If this makes any sense at all
.."


That makes perfect sense to me. Sometimes I read to take a break from certain aspects of my life, and sometimes I'm ready to look for new insights into those issues.

I'll be interested in your opinion re an appropriate dx of the father. (view spoiler)


message 20: by Holly R W (last edited Apr 09, 2019 09:21AM) (new)

Holly R W | 1255 comments I work with many families where child abuse (of all kinds) has happened. Also, I see mothers who have endured domestic violence. I had already decided that I would skip reading this book too.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Joanne wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Amy wrote: "You know, unless I am surprised, I sort of stay away from trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. Also anyone kidnapping and murdering children. I also do..."

Oh Joanne, I did not know this. My son is 28 and it has been a difficult road. He no longer takes his medicine and the last few years have been rough, the last year the worst.


message 22: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 09, 2019 09:42AM) (new)

NancyJ wrote: "Rachel wrote: "I stopped reading anything regarding bi-polar, depression for a long time because it is a daily experience for me with my son. I only started reading again in the last year but for m..."

I have been the same with this issue. On and off. The last year, I seem to gravitate and to find anything I can find. Non-fiction or fiction. I think for me, at the moment, it makes me feel not so alone in this.


message 23: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7472 comments Rachel wrote: "Joanne wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Amy wrote: "You know, unless I am surprised, I sort of stay away from trauma, abuse, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and alzheimers. Also anyone kidnapping and murdering chil..."

My thoughts are with you Rachel-2 years ago my husband decided he was OK now and could go off his meds. It was the first time in 20 years he did this-so I knew right away something was off. My daughter and I had an intervention with him and his family(who have been in denial forever)-we thought that did the trick-but I ended up having to hospitalize him for the entire summer. My sister, I had to put in a group home years ago. I will keep you in my thoughts, I know how heartbreaking this disease can be.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

NancyJ wrote: "Rachel wrote: "I stopped reading anything regarding bi-polar, depression for a long time because it is a daily experience for me with my son. I only started reading again in the last year but for m..."

(view spoiler)


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