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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Educated by Tara Westover, read by Julia Whelan. 

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected. 

She hadn't been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she'd never set foot in a classroom and no medical records because her father didn't believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn't exist. 

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16 Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd travelled too far. If there was still a way home. 

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, from her singular experience Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

Earphones Award winner for Audiofile magazine

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A beautifully written memoir." (J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy)
"Marvellous. There is no feeling like discovering a young writer who is springing up fully armed with so much talent." (Stephen Fry)
"A striking story, beautifully told. Tara is an incredible new talent...I was holding my breath through parts, willing her to be okay." (Cathy Retzinbrink, author of The Last Act of Love)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • MEW
  • 21-06-2018

The Mormons

Having been raised in a religious school I could well believe the mindset Tara Westover must have been subjected to. This book is well written although somewhat belaboured. I was certainly frustrated by the fact that she could not seek help earlier for the abuse her brother put her through. Thank goodness for education.

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  • K. Chong
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • 08-06-2018

Compelling

After hearing Tara Westover speak on radio I very much wanted to understand more about her life. The story is compelling, sad and sometimes unbelievable. Her life experience up to going to college is so far from my own that it felt like fiction, not biography - I was constantly left wondering how ones own family can be so cruel and deluded. The narration is excellent and the whole book is binge-worthy.

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Terrific first half, then tedium sets in

Superb narration couldn't save this from turning from a fascinating backstory to a tedious soap-opera.

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Fascinating insight

This is a fascinating insight into a world I have never seen. Loved every minute of it

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Amazing story

I thoroughly enjoyed this book although at times I couldn’t understand how someone could live like this. Tara certainly is an amazing woman.

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Captured growing out of religion beautifully

Tara does an amazing job capturing the emotions and thought journey of growing out of religion. So much resonated and reminded me of my own journey. Her story is incredible, she is clearly smart AND hard working- admire everything she’s been through. Thanks for sharing Tara

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Powerful

An extraordinary story of how affecting upbringing and family can be. Tara's would be one of the most extreme examples, and her loyalty to family amidst such degredation and insanity is, for me, both the most frustrating and the most meaningful take-away. Her obviously profound intelligence indicates just how difficult addressing such a childhood can be. She has such self-awareness and insight and writes with no-nonsense beauty.
Not for the faint-hearted and yet un-put-downable.

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Outstanding

This highly articulate & fascinating insight into finding the true self when hamstrung by family & religious belief is incredible. The reader is confronted on every emotional & spiritual level. Brilliant writing!

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  • Jane
  • 12-06-2018

Worth reading

Beautifully documented memoir. Great study of family secrets and painful love. I highly recommend it.

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  • Thandi Lamprecht
  • 15-05-2018

Excellent

Fantastic memoir- like all the very best books it stays with you long after you’ve finished and you wish there was more.

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  • David Bowden
  • 03-03-2018

Wonderful, inspiring book on the value of education

While this book has plenty of grim stories of life growing up in a Mormon survivalist home, this is much more than a book about survival.

Westover makes this a book about education in its clearest, most uncynical form. This is a hymn to the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning not to be frightened of making mistakes on your path to knowledge.

It is similar to JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Yet whereas Vance’s journey from hillbilly to literary star could only make you admire his determination & discipline, Westover’s is a more humane vision. She fails, doubts and self-sabotages yet never loses faith that acquiring knowledge about the world and her fellow humans is a liberation (even when it unsettles).

Most importantly she provides hope for us all: that hopeless ignorance is only ever a book or good teacher away from being transformed, if you have the desire.

Like Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood it can be a challenging read at times: but what sings out is not the badness she experiences, but the goodness & generosity she frequently encounters (whilst remaining astounding generous to her family’s flaws)

A beautiful, inspiring read

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-2018

Extraordinary

This had me gripped from the beginning. Beautifully written. It's devastating and uplifting. Heart stopping and heart warming. One of the best books I've ready in a long time. Inspiring all the way.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Elma
  • 28-03-2018

Autobiography

A well written account of the life so far of Tara Westover. Although I was hoping to get more insight into the Mormon faith. The book is very moving and is very descriptive, it feels very real. This will always be about perception though and it will raise it's own questions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • H Newsam
  • 26-03-2018

The genuinely incredible story how someone with no formal education got a PHD from Cambridge

I picked this as a read because Tara Westover will be talking at the Cambridge Literary Festival and there was an article in one of the papers. Her story is one of natural talent, drive and amazing luck. She never had a formal education being brought up in an extreme survivalist household who believed that the end of days were coming any time. It’s a real rollercoaster of a read, a real page turner, the accidents, situations, danger, and general craziness of Tara’s life are shocking as much as they are uplifting. It’s a real exploration into fanatical belief, mental illness, family and what “an education” really is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 14-03-2018

Wow

I found this very shocking & sad at times.
I throughly enjoyed listening to the story of Tara’s life unfold.
I found it hard to understand how her father had such a hold over his children even after Tara had started a PHD her father still managed to cause problems in Tara’s mind.
A very brave lady, who managed to get herself an education of the highest level despite never attending a school.
I could not under stand why towards the end she felt she might have been guilt of wrong doing.
Sad thing us there are children today being raised in similar homes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Adrienne
  • 14-06-2018

Compulsive reading

The damage within a family explored through religious fervour and counter balanced by awakening understanding of the world. This family dynamic is totally credible and yet devastating and you absolutely believe in the characters and their flaws. Loved it.

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  • Jennifer R.
  • 09-06-2018

Incredible true life story

Tara’s story is incredible. How many other people grow up in similar situations but never manage to escape?

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  • Stewart Whitehead
  • 05-06-2018

Wonderful

An amazing book, superbly written. My admiration for Tara is huge. How she managed to transform from that 16 year old to her 27 year old educated self is nothing short of remarkable To pull herself out of that world of awful abuse and untreated mental illness, with all the misguided loyalties and victim blaming that went with it is incredible. And yet, despite her inner turmoil, she manages to retain a balance which is beautifully illustrated by the content of her PhD thesis. She emanates a feeling of warmth and love throughout all her bitter experience, and I was so glad that at the end of the book she was able to reconcile her sense of home and family (at least some of them), the mountain, and who she realised she had become.

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  • arkanamundi@aol.com
  • 02-06-2018

Outstanding

This is such a tremendous story about how patriarchy works. It gripped me from very early on.

I don’t know what else to say. I just wish there was more.

Since finishing it, I’ve been trying to find out more about this amazing woman. I have learned that the family have got a lawyer to refute her version of events and they have closed ranks in a conspiracy of silence against her. Clearly to them, there is nothing more threatening and shameful than a woman with custody of her own mind and the confidence to speak her own mind.

I hope she writes more. Lots more.



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  • Michael R.
  • 22-05-2018

So good it shakes you.

Incredible life story told with economy and unsentimental prose. It's a book that with stock around in your thoughts indefinitely