A Memoir

Book - 2018
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Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
ISBN: 9780399590504
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

“In her memoir, Westover recounts her childhood growing up in a strict Mormon family, ruled by an erratic father, and living off the grid in Idaho. Westover compellingly sketches her years growing up, her relationships with siblings, encounters in the town nearby, and the events that eventually d... Read More »

Recommended by Dana, Administrative Services

Recommended by Mary K, Collection Services

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JessicaGma Nov 14, 2018

It was a really interesting read in that Tara Westover is pretty young for a memoir, but what she had revealed about her family is astonishing. Rised by fundamentalist Mormons in Idaho, Westover has to break away from her family and the culture she was raised in to become a whole person, which is hard when your trust and faith in those who raised you is broken. As someone alluded to in the comments, she probably has more to come.

Nov 04, 2018

An astonishing memoir of a childhood off the grid and the author's brave and difficult escape from her family's abuse and fanaticism. Gripping. A page turner. Amazing.

Oct 30, 2018

I found the book depressing - and the author's "escape" from her family through education stretched the boundaries of believability. It seemed that if things were as bad at home as she suggests, she would never have been able to move ahead. There was no mentor. And social services were very lax to leave these kids in the care of their parents, once they were registered, and some attending school. An father who risked the kids' lives, a nasty and likely mentally deranged brother, and a mother who didn't even try to ensure the safety or well being of her children. The author maybe made is sound terrible so that her getting away from home would seem more of a triumph. A better book in this vein would be Jeannette Walls "Glass Castle", with more interesting, well rounded characters, and some familial redeeming qualities.

Oct 29, 2018

Chapter 16

Oct 24, 2018

I was shocked to learn the author is several years younger than me. Her story is captivating. She struggles with recognizing the dysfunction of her family...which eventually leads her to be outcasted by them. It demonstrates the pull and loyalties of family even when they are not healthy.

Oct 21, 2018

It really held my interest until the last 100 pages or so, then it seemed to drag and be repetitive.

Oct 20, 2018

Carol M recommends

Hillsboro_ElizabethH Oct 18, 2018

This book was pretty amazing - seeing how she rose above her upbringing to get an education, when her family was against it. It was sometimes a hard read, though - it's crazy the things she went through - physical and emotional abuse, and I suspect sexual abuse, but she never comes out and claims it happened.

Oct 18, 2018

A talented young writer with a very interesting memoir. My admiration for her is immense not only for her survivor growing up in a repressive, single minded, often dangerous family environment, but also for her will and persistence to learn and succeed.
There is no bitterness in her memoir, sometimes you wonder about the warmth that is there where you don't expect it.
Her book astonished me, I didn't have any idea that families like hers existed in the late twentieth, early twenty-first century.

Oct 18, 2018

Her first book? Wow. It is absolutely outstanding. I am old enough to be her mother and yet so much of what she wrote struck me right in the heart. Just finished reading the library's copy and went online to buy it for myself so I can highlight passages that I need to remember and ponder. Amazing woman. So impressed. Wish she was my sister.

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ArapahoeMaryA Oct 23, 2018

My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”


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