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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

29 / 51 states. 57% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 50 books. 52% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

13 / 26.2 miles. 50% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

68 / 104 books. 65% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

44 / 52 books. 85% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

74 / 165 books. 45% done!
Monday, October 14, 2019

Educated a Fascinating, Compelling Memoir

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Born to survivalist parents, Tara Westover became the seventh child in a very unconventional family.  Although her parents were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they embraced their own extreme, fanatical version of the religion.  Living in a remote corner of Idaho, she and her siblings ran wild, helping their father sort scrap metal and prepare the family for the imminent end of the world.  Because the Westovers did not believe in modern medicine or the need for schooling, their brood received neither.  Even life-threatening wounds were treated only with natural remedies and prayer.  Mind-boggling ignorance about world history, current affairs, literature, science, and mathematics?  Ignored altogether.  Possessing a keen mind and a curiosity that wouldn't quit, Tara made the courageous decision to leave home in order to pursue an education.  She entered her first classroom ever as a 17-year-old college freshman.  Although at that point she knew little about even basic academic concepts, she went on to earn an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University as well as an MPhil and PhD from Cambridge.

How Westover evolved from a feral, resourceless child to an ambitious, devoted scholar at prestigious universities is the subject of her first book, a memoir entitled Educated.  Her story is a testament to the power of education and the ability of an eager mind to triumph in even the grimmest situations.  It's also a coming-of-age tale about stepping out of a sheltered childhood into the alarming world of adulthood and subsequently trying to determine who you really are, what you actually believe, and where you truly belong.  The exploration of these intriguing themes make Educated a fascinating book and yet, it didn't blow me away like I expected it to due to all the accolades it has received.  It's raw and powerful for sure, but for me, at least, it ended up being a good read, not a great one.  

Why didn't Educated resonate with me as much as it has with so many other readers?  I think because (1) I found it more depressing than empowering, (2) it made me feel defensive of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (even though Westover insists this is not a book about Mormonism, it kinda is), and (3) Westover seemed to suggest that a person could not be both religious and educated, a stance with which I vehemently disagree.  Despite these hang-ups, though, I did find Educated interesting.  It brings up a lot of thought-provoking questions that would make for a lively book club discussion.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I purchased a copy of Educated from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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