When I told you guys about Tara Westover’s book Educated on my reading list that you too should try, I did not do it justice. I just finished this book about a week ago and honestly, #NoHumanIsLimited. (I mean, I just had to. In the spirit of being Kenyan, and ‘marathon runners) ?
Tara was raised in a Mormon survivalist kind of way in Idaho. Her father always believed that the end times were nearing (and even when they didn’t, he held to this). He also did not believe in sending his children to school and no one was to visit the hospitals. All injuries, big or small, were to be treated at home. His thoughts were that this way, God’s name would be ‘exalted’.
While at home, none of the children received any form of homeschooling. They would help their father at his junkyard. As a result of this, Tara didn’t set foot into a classroom until she was 17. Yes, you read right.
Through developing interest from seeing one of her elder brother’s studying, she started teaching herself math and grammar. Eventually, her brother Luke pushed her to take the test (ACT), so as to be admitted into the university. The first time she took it, she failed by a few points. That only pushed her to study harder and when she took the test a second time, she passed.
This begun her journey to studying at Brigham Young University where she studied history and got to learn about major historical events she had no idea about such as the holocaust. It does not take long for her professors to recognize her talent and hunger to learn. Within no time, she goes to Cambridge University for a fellowship where one of the professors says it’s like he has, “stepped into Shaw’s Pygmalion.”
Tara eventually visits Harvard for another fellowship and goes back to Cambridge to pursue her Ph.D., in history. It, however, takes her longer than expected to make progress, as she battles with feelings of guilt, loyalty, and even shame.
See, it is during her time at university that she is in an abusive relationship with one of her other brothers. She confides in her mom who at first believes her, but when her father does not, her mother decides to take her father’s side. Because of this, she battles thoughts of being insane and possessed.
She is eventually disowned by her parents, and some siblings (when the father says they choose a side). To date, she does not speak to some members of her family, apart from her other two brothers who like her, have also earned their doctorates.
By the time she was finally getting her doctorate degree, she was estranged from most of her family members. She, however, gained a family in her two brothers, their wives and children, and her mother’s side of the family.
Today, she walks free of guilt, shame, and even fear. Although she misses her family, she is glad that they are not in her life.
With this book, Tara gets into 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.
There’s just a way it grips you and leaves you wanting more. The truth is, you are never too old to learn anything. When you want something, nothing can stop you.
You should read this book!
Until next time, all my love.