Vandal Book Club
Join U of I alumni and friends of U of I for an online book club covering professional development and personal growth topics related to careers and leadership. The book club connects through a private forum where people can discuss the current book and network with each other. Joining the book club is completely free for alumni and friends, you just have to get a copy of the book to enjoy.
Questions? Read our FAQ page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book 7: Educated: A Memoir
September – October 2018
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 metal in her father’s junkyard.
Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Westover never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. 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 an older brother became violent.
When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Westover decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled 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 from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, 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.