Educated — Review
I recently completed the book Educated. What a powerful book. It chronicles the story of Tara, who grows up in Idaho in an extreme family situation: they hate the government, are preparing for the end of the world, are extreme Mormons, don’t believe in doctors, and harbor all sorts of other conspiracy theories. She goes on to college at BYU and then Cambridge and Harvard and slowly realizes there is a bit more to the world than what she learned growing up.
However, despite this it becomes hard for her to accept facts, or see reality. As she becomes more educated and part of the larger society, her family rejects her, thinks she is the devil, and threatens her violently.
Throughout the book she struggles with how to relate to her family — she slowly learns of mental disorders and psychology and how this has impacted her family and her, is able to see the emotional and physical abuse she endured in her childhood. Even so, it’s very difficult for her to accept help. Most times she turns it away.
Even as the book goes on and it seems she has changed, it’s apparent how deeply the education and culture of her childhood is ingrained in her, and how difficult it is to reconcile the two competing visions of reality: the version from her family and the version from the outside world.
It’s a really emotional book to read. It’s also hard to read. The situation she is in is so abusive, it’s hard to think this is still how some people view things today.
I don’t know if there is a moral to the story — but I think it makes a strong case for a general education, an ability to bring in critical thinking and skepticism, travel, and provides a window into a certain fanatical world view.