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Author: Tara Westover
Publication year: 2018
Genre: Memoir


Being a fan of Super Soul Sundays it’s a wonder I stumbled onto this 2019 best seller so late. Having watched and listened to this young woman talk about her childhood and her journey of education and unlearning I knew I had to get the book. I decided to treat myself and clear my Saturday schedule and finish it in a day. Best decision as the book was an easy read, with short chapters and so much information to absorb. Truth was definitely stranger than fiction.


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 had never set foot in a classroom. As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent,  At sixteen, 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.

“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.”

What stood out for me

Without giving too much away,The car accident baffles my mind that going to a hospital would not be an option. When she describes her mom’s face and the confusion I the fake doctor (self trained by many medical series) immediately thought brain injury. I kept wondering why no one else considered the hospital. The fact that they would put themselves at risk again a few years later the mind boggles. The reality of her life once she started getting her education and mental and emotional turmoil really stood out for.

“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.”

Final thoughts

It’s one of the books that I wanted to read with a group and hear other people’s thoughts. I’ve never grappled with a memoir like this before. The love for family is evident ( sometimes barely) but there was definitely no safety there.Truly a convoluted story, her struggle between being a good loyal daughter and being herself. I know it’s so easy to judge when you are staring in and not living in it. I had never fully understood the pain of being an undocumented child.  My heart bleeds for those children and there are many in our own country. Have you read the book? what are some of your thoughts? I would love to hear it on the comments section.

“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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