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Educated

Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,882 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of best autobiography/memoir and best female narrator at the Audies.

Selected as a book of the year in The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, New York Times, Economist, New Statesman, Vogue, Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Red Magazine

Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. 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 hospitals.    

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it. 

Shortlisted for the 2018 BAMB Readers' Awards · Recommended as a summer read by Barack Obama, Antony Beevor, India Knight, Blake Morrison and Nina Stibbe. 

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"One of my favourite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon...Tara Westover’s Educated is 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." (Barack Obama) 

"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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LOVE in this family = loyalty to a bipolar father

Tara shows what it is like to be caught in the cycle of abuse and overcome it... eventually. This powerful book made me understand the grip of a family cult and the cycle of abuse.

Thank you Tara for having the courage to write it.

Unconditional loyalty to a bipolar delusional man is what this family defines as love and acceptance.

I found this interesting because many families have a similar premise and that is; in order to be a part of the family you have to pretend to believe the family lies.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Best memoir I’ve ever read - and extraordinary work

A touching autobiography, both devastating and uplifting at the same time. It is a privilege to be let into Westover’s world; one of- heartbreaking family loyalty, but also the extraordinary power of education changing ones life.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Memoir not to be missed

Fabulous book which invokes all the emotions. Hard to believe women could still be treated like this in the current day. Insightfully and emotionally written book about families, domestic violence, religious culture and of course the role of education in all of this. The narrator was excellent. One of my favourite Audiobooks so far

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A ‘jagged little patch of Idaho’ = a remarkable story of transformation

The multiple layers of this book are simultaneously bared and interwoven in a way which is very accessible despite most likely being beyond any frame of reference available to most readers.

There is a restrained steadiness in the telling of the story which is effective in keeping the reader engaged for the entire journey.

Westover’s personal journey and accomplishments are truly remarkable, particularly when set against the backdrop of her family life and circumstances, in that ‘jagged little patch of Idaho.’

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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interesting but not outstanding

The rave reviews had me investing. But the story wasnt memorable nor will I be recommending it to others.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Do yourself a favour and read this

Tara Westover you are a legend!! More people should celebrate their self-growth and learn to not self-loth.
We are not all fortunate to grow up in families deserved of respect. Thank you for sharing your story. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • HR
  • 30-07-2019

Tara your amazing!

Tara you defied the odds through sheer strength of character which guided you to safe shores without your conscience knowledge most of the time. I hope life brings you every conceivable joy & a few inconceivable ones too, you deserve it my dear. 😊

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

Beautifully written and expertly narrated, this is a fascinating story that had me captivated from start to finish. Highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Fascinating Read

Amazing story and to think it really happened in recent times. Loved every minute of it and recommend it to everyone to read.

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gripping... could not put it down

i absolutely loved this book, the emotional rollercoaster so beautifully described, i felt like i was there.

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  • Charmaine P
  • 09-10-2018

You can’t be off the grid forever....it ain’t ‘right’!

There’s another side to life that I don’t even know about.... What was this father even thinking in keeping his family off the grid. And, the ‘vasbyt’ and determination of one child to get a degree without ever having been to school ..... I loved this book and it’s really well written.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jolene
  • 24-06-2019

Best book of 2019

I loved this story, couldn't stop listening (downloaded the audio version). Tara opened up her world and took me with her. This is a story about family, how much we are shaped by it but also how much you sometimes have to cut the ties to survive. I was blown away by her determination. She kept listening to that little voice inside of her. In her heart she stayed loyal to them not by following their "rules" but by loving them. I think that's what matters in the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Shin
  • 12-12-2019

Jarring, Poignant, Aching, and Triumphant

Reading and understanding with empathy and respect the lives of others than our own, especially those that seem too incredible to be true is dues one must pay to fully exercise democracy. And grateful that Dr. Westover has laid bare her own life so that I might understand experiences like hers.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-2019

Wonderful and terrifying memoir

I absolutely loved it. I am asking my friends and family to read it too.

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  • Lawrence Dembo
  • 29-11-2019

My favourite book of the year

Honest
Extraordinary
Not enough superlatives. Brutal honest unflinching sad happy real.
Am extraordinary woman
An extraordinary man

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-11-2019

Great story writing, spot on narration

I bought the book on kindle, finished it, bought the audiobook, finished it and ended up getting the paperback as well... hahaha what more can i say.

Tera really dug deep and expressed her childhood trauma and experiences in such a introspective and honest manner and also managed to make it chilling and engaging. It sure left me thinking about my own views of my childhood, life and how we take many things for granted.

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  • Shonti
  • 11-11-2019

Inspiring and Challenging

I really liked the raw honesty and courage of this story. I enjoyed it and yet trembled at the resonance in part to aspects of my own inner self.
It is a compelling true story and I recommend it highly.

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  • Vicky
  • 22-10-2019

It's not just a story it's Life

Every one who loves reading must be listen or Read thia story once in a lifetime ,I don't think i can't able to Read or listen this story again , I mean this contend is very intense, While i was listening i can't able to concentrate on anything i don't know how many day's it's going to stay with me loved it from bottom of my heart for, finally Tara Westover you're true inspiration..

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-2019

Loved this book

Amazing narration with clear distinctions between characters. Well formed and thought out story.
So emotionally intelligent. Loved this book!

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  • Melissa
  • 26-08-2019

Extraordinary

This book is wonderfully erudite, touching without any yawning sentimentality. Beautifully read. Congratulations to Tara Westover.

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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

25 of 25 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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • TK
  • 25-02-2019

Unique and great... but unfinished and incomplete

Julie Whelan is a fantasic narrator in this audiobook. Tara's story is fascinating and unique, but there is a slight irritation after finishing her book. After a way too detailed first third of the book about her childhood, we fast forward through life experiences and pass others in tangent, that would be crucial to understand the author's change in perspective. It feels like the author, despite her best intentions, still hasn't come to terms with herself and the family. The story has not yet ended, and Tara needs to do some self-exploration over things that are glaringly obvious to the outsider. Or at least it seems so from her book.
I almost want to ask the author to get, or continue getting counselling - and I would really want to hear her next book.

6 of 6 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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • 28-07-2019

Wonderful and thought provoking

Beautifully written and narrated, often painfully depicting a child, a family, abused, bulleyed and controlled under the cover of Mormonism. Shocking that such derranged minds could wield such power over their innocent families using threats and violence, hidden from the authorities under their cloak of religeon. Hard to know if the abusers were simply brainwashed into their psychopathy or were born warped and enjoyed the protection of their mormon enclave to carry out their sadistic rituals.
The book made me angry for the family members, who, while striving to be 'good' people gave power to evil men.
It's amazing to me that after the torture she suffered, mental and physical, the cruelty and rejection, the author still revered and loved her parents and sought their approval and affection. Making her the greater person.
It's always hard for those us who haven't experienced this sort of abuse to understand the control these abusers have, the guilt and self blame they instil into their victims.
At the end of it all, despite Tara's true goodness of heart and forgiving spirit, I do wish someone would grab that nasty old dad by the scruff and throw him and his psychopathic son Sean into goal and give them a taste of their own medicine!

4 of 4 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Eadaoin
  • 31-07-2019

Moving

family estrangement written with pure softness and truth . Despair , loss , love , trauma and confusion can be felt everywhere yet the authors own grit powered through.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-09-2018

a tinderbox life story

a breathless and humbling story of survival and phoenix like success. A clarion call for education and understanding of mental health.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David J. Carpenter
  • 22-09-2018

Outstanding

Gripping, haunting, disturbing, frightening, inspiring, courageous, uplifting, honest, heart and soul - just some of the words that come to mind in this must read. The journey to realisation and self worth laid out in uncompromising honesty. A privilege to be allowed to share the journey of this remarkable person.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Maya Connell
  • 09-10-2019

Fantastic

A truly inspiring story of a life. Tara really gets to heart of what it takes to love a family but also what it takes to leave it, even if that leaving means coming back and examining it over and over as a part of the process of understanding. The miles she came in distance, thought and ideology is huge, makes for a un-turnoffable listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful