"Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others."
— NEW YORK TIMES
★★★★ out 4
"Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable. Her new book, Educated...is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life."
— USA TODAY
"Westover writes with uncommon intelligence and grace...One of the most improbable and fascinating journeys I’ve read in recent years."
This story, remarkable as it is, might be merely another entry in the subgenre of extreme American life, were it not for the uncommon perceptiveness of the person telling it. Westover examines her childhood with unsparing clarity, and, more startlingly, with curiosity and love, even for those who have seriously failed or wronged her. In part, this is a book about being a stranger in a strange land."
— THE NEW YORKER
"A remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind."
— PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
"A beautifully written account of how she grasps the sheer enormity of the world — and struggles to find her own place within it. The result is a memoir that is fit to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage."
— THE SUNDAY TIMES
"Memoirs of difficult childhoods have a high bar to cross these days, but Westover’s struggle to make sense of the world and of her upbringing sails right over."
— TIMES MAGAZINE
"[A] superb memoir...Westover's journey from a remote corner of the American west to one of the world's grandest seats of learning is extraordinary, but her educational triumph comes at the terrible cost of relations with her family. Her story, of fighting to be herself, is as old as the hills she came from, but Westover, now 31, gives us such a fresh, absorbing take that it deserves to bring her own private Idaho into the bestseller lists, book groups and, eventually, cinemas."
— THE TIMES
“In Educated, her riveting memoir, Ms Westover brings readers deep into this world, a milieu usually hidden from outsiders…Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests. That someone who grew up in her circumstances could achieve as much as she has is astonishing. All the same, readers who enjoyed more mundane backgrounds will empathise. The central tension she wrestles with throughout her book is how to be true to herself without alienating her family. Her upbringing was extraordinary, but that struggle is not.”
— THE ECONOMIST
“Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind… In briskly paced prose, she evokes a childhood that completely defined her… For Westover, now turning 32, the mind-opening odyssey is still fresh. So is the soul-wrenching ordeal—she hasn’t seen her parents in years."
— THE ATLANTIC
“Westover’s story is so extraordinary that its bare bones would have been enough to make a fascinating book, so the fact that she tells it with such enormous skill and insight feels like a bonus…. She recounts her experiences with a matter-of-fact lyricism that is extraordinarily evocative, and which makes the emotional impact of the inevitable rift between herself and some members of her family even more powerful.”
— THE IRISH TIMES
"Tara Westover's beautifully written memoir shines a light on a part of our country that we too often overlook. Her powerful tale—of trying to find a place for herself in the world, without losing her connection to her family or her beloved homed—deserves to be widely read. My Mamaw would have been rooting for Tara."
— JD VANCE, author of Hillbilly Elegy
"Marvelous. There is no feeling like discovering a young writer who is springing up so fully armed with so much talent."
— STEPHEN FRY
"Educated is an unflinching account of love and brutality, of the strength of blood ties and the power of imagination, and of a young woman whose intellect, self-knowledge and courage illuminate every page. There are passages so painfully vivid that they sear themselves into the memory, yet Westover is never prurient or punitive: even when writing from the depths, she does so with compassion and grace. Both the book and its writer are remarkable in every respect."
— SARAH PERRY, #1 Sunday Times best-selling
author of The Essex Serpent
"Breathtaking, heart-wrenching, inspirational – I’ve never read anything like this. Educated tells the story of a young girl's escape from violence and emotional prison. It is about the love of family and the pain of family both, the ferocity of the human spirit, and the power of education to change lives. Educated is one of the best books, and Westover one of the most gifted writers, that I've read in a very long time."
— AMY CHUA, Yale Law professor and author of Political Tribes
and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
"Educated, in showing us the unstoppable power of a young women determined to make her own decisions and find her own way, is an inspiring and important tale for our times."
— REBECCA STOTT, winner of the Costa Biography Award for
In the Days of Rain
"Absolutely superb . . . the last 100 pages were so gripping
I could hardly breathe."
— SOPHIE HANNAH, internationally best-selling author of
The Monogram Murders
"[A] powerful, jaw dropper of a book."
— STYLIST MAGAZINE
"This memoir is a dazzling example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to something . . . an inspirational, truly unique coming-of-age tale."
"[I]ntelligent and powerful...crisp, persuasive and heartbreaking in its honesty."
— LITERARY REVIEW
"[A] searing debut memoir...Westover’s vivid prose makes this saga of the pressures of conformity and self-assertion that warp a family seem both terrifying and ordinary."
— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"An astonishing account of deprivation, confusion, survival, and
— KIRKUS REVIEW
Westover manages both tenderness and a savage honesty that spares no one, not even herself....In its keen exploration of family, history, and the narratives we create for ourselves, Educated becomes more than just a success story."
"Raised in the Idaho mountains by survivalist parents who eschewed schooling and doctors, Westover hungered so powerfully for education that she taught herself, getting to Brigham Young University and eventually Cambridge University for a PhD. One of the publisher's big books of the season."
— LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Powerful, moving, brave in its revelations of profound humiliations, naked and completely at home in its form."
— MONA SIMPSON, author of Casebook and Anywhere But Here
"As powerful a story about the transforming potential
of education as you'll ever read."
— CAROLINE SANDERSON, The Bookseller
"This fiercely intelligent memoir is a fascinating and compassionate view of another world and the author’s struggle to both escape from and understand it as she heads out into the world to become educated."
— CATHY RENTZENBRINK, for The Pool
"An absolutely astonishing account of an extraordinary mind overcoming even more extraordinary matter and finding freedom."
— LUCY MANGAN, journalist and author
"A punch to the gut, a slow burn, a savage indictment, a love letter. Educated somehow contrives to be all these things at once. Tara Westover guides us through the extraordinary Western landscape of her coming of age, and in clear, tender prose makes us feel what she felt, growing up among fanatics...
Rarely have I read a book that made me so uncomfortable, so enraged, and at the same time so utterly, entirely absorbed.
I loved this book, and this woman."
— CLAIRE DEDERER, New York Times bestselling author
of Love and Trouble
"Like The Glass Castle, Educated is a wise and deep reflection about surviving one’s family. I bow down to Tara Westover, not only for her marvelous, sentence-by-sentence craftsmanship but also for making sense and meaning from a confounding and hair-raising childhood. This is memoir at its best."
— KELLY CORRIGAN, New York Times bestselling
author of Lift and Glitter and Glue
“Extraordinary, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting."
—CARYS BRAY, author of A Song for Issy Bradley and The Museum of You
“An incredible memoir of triumph over seemingly endless adversity. The author's ability to write about her experiences in a clear-eyed, nonjudgmental way makes her story a pleasure to read.
A study in the power and wonder of resilience.”
— CEA SUNRISE PERSON, author of North of Normal and Nearly Normal
“This ferociously intelligent memoir is nevertheless full of kindness and insight. In looking beyond the triumphant point where many memoirs would finish, it achieves something far more powerful: Westover demonstrates that leaving a family is not the work of a moment but of a lifetime. Unflinching in confronting the cost of self-preservation and self-determination, this book is beautiful in its bravery."
—IMOGEN HERMES GOWAR, Sunday Times Bestselling author of The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
“This remarkable memoir–one of the best I've ever read–is my kind of miracle. The book made me cringe, cry out, cover my eyes, shake with anger, beam with pride, and appreciate the trials that led to my own education. Tara's story will find a place alongside modern classic memoirs, like Wild and The Glass Castle. It's that special.”
—SUSANNAH CALAHAN, New York Times bestselling author of
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness