“Educated” by Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s memoir is both enlightening and frightening. She tells the story of her life growing up within a large family of children who were “homeschooled” in name only. They actually had no education at all except what they taught themselves. The author was seventeen-years-old the first time she entered a classroom. Amazingly she earned a PhD from Cambridge in 2014. This is her first book and I recommend it.
Westover recounts growing up in the shadow of a beautiful Idaho mountain on which her father owned a junkyard. Her mother was a midwife who helped support the family by selling medical remedies made from herbs and oils. The children received no immunizations and never saw a doctor through illnesses and serious injuries that children should never have to endure.
The father of this family was a religious zealot and all decisions were made by him based upon his interpretation of the Bible. To make matters worse he was mentally unstable as was one of the sons. The result of these factors made growing up emotionally as well as physically dangerous.
Tara Westover’s journey to become “educated” is troubling but very inspiring. Her memoir is a #1 New York Times bestseller.
“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”
This book was a fun surprise. My friend got me interested in this book when she asked me if I’d ever heard about the Blue people of Kentucky. I had, of course, I’ve lived in Kentucky my whole life. We’re known for moonshine, young brides and horse racing. The Blue people were another odd piece of our crazy quilt history. I knew that they had existed but they were just another cringe causing claim to fame for my home state.
I live in Kentucky and have spent some hot summers in the Appalachian Mountains. My family helped with several church ministries in the mountains. I’ve driven on narrow roads created by heavy trucks burdened with dirty coal. I’ve seen tiny houses tucked in dark hollers. I know the suspicious eyes of people that didn’t trust anyone but Mountain people. Those summers taught me a respect for these proud people that lived difficult isolated lives. It was my first experience with real poverty, but it was a financial poverty, not a poverty of spirit. Their beautiful voices, meticulous gardens, and pride in their beautiful mountains were things I never forgot. I was curious to learn more.
The author tells a beautiful story of a strong woman sprinkled with some interesting facts about the Blues. She is respectful of the subject with reliable documentation and photos. I’d never heard of the Book Women and I was touched to know that was a part of our Kentucky heritage. I’m glad I was curious enough to give this book a try.