Book review: ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

Tara Westover was the daughter of survivalists in the State of Idaho. Her father and mother believed in a truncated form of the Mormon faith that derived from her father’s belief that everything that happened, good and bad, was part of a plan and came directly from God. He saw himself as something of a prophet with a duty to proselytize and save all around him, most importantly his family. Everything was a government plot, thus the survivalist mode. The public schools were the government’s means to brainwash.

The Westover children were homeschooled, which essentially meant they were taught the skills needed to foster the businesses of their parents. Literacy was mostly self-taught using the Bible and Mormon material. Since Mr. Westover was in the scrap and construction business, there were many practical skills that could be contributed. Mrs. Westover was somewhat of a self-taught herbalist. The survivalist creed taught that the medical establishment was suspect in all regards, so there was a need for her skills. Along with becoming a midwife, she developed her own essential oils and salves.

Tara became adept at running the equipment required at the scrap yard and was also able to help her mother gather the herbs and mix the medicines. She even accompanied her mother on some of the midwife duties. One of Tara’s brothers broke the mold. He was going to college. “College is extra school for people too dumb to learn the first time through,” his father said. Tara began her home study more vigorously, got jobs outside the home, and learned she had an above-average singing voice. She took the ACT and qualified for Brigham Young University – BYU.

For someone of Tara’s upbringing, the university was a challenge on so many levels. Besides being new to formal schooling, she had her father’s harangues in her head regarding everything from the way to dress to a woman’s appropriate role. With that came guilt. As she modified her mode of dress to at least partially comply with her surroundings and developed interests beyond becoming a wife and mother, she would hear her father’s voice saying Tara was being controlled by Lucifer.

As might be expected, Tara learned there was a gigantic world out there and much that was and had happened in it. She found she had a talent for learning and for expressing what she had learned. At least as importantly, the talents were apparent to others, and she soon found mentors that led her to new heights in education. But she was always drawn to home, to Buck’s Peak, to family. Her father was not one to compromise, however, on something as important as his religion, so try as she might,she could not return home. Not, at least, without changing her newfound values.

Comments are closed.

  • Book review: ‘Countdown 1945’ by Chris Wallace with Mitch Weiss

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Harry Truman had become FDR’s vice president through a convoluted process. FDR had been elected for his fourth term at least in part because he was a third of the triumvirate of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, the leaders who were successfully prosecuting the Second World War.


    N-O-W’s next meeting will be virtual

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Once again, the special board of education meeting on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. will remain virtual.


    Got blood? Give it up! Wilton’s Saturday drive will include Covid-19 antibody tests

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    The severe blood shortage continues, as well over 75,000 blood drives have been canceled throughout the United States.


    Book review: ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling

    July 30th, 2020
    by

    Harry Potter knew that as a baby he had been placed with the Dursleys, his aunt and uncle.


    N-O-W forms virtual school as option to in-person instruction

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    At present, Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton intends to hold school five days a week in-person, plus virtual options will be available, Superintendent Travis Anderson wrote in a letter to parents last week.


  • Online or five-day-a-week schooling available at Royall

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    The Royall Board of Education approved the administration’s draft reopening plan at its meeting Monday, but Superintendent Mark Gruen noted that the document is subject to change as circumstances surrounding the pandemic evolve.


    Book review: ‘The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Pamela Dornam Book’ by J. Ryan Stradal

    July 22nd, 2020
    by

    Helen Magunnson convinced her father to give her the family farm to sell so she could restart Blotz Brewery. The other sister, Edith, got nothing and had to make it on her own.


    Monroe County to issue WIC benefits, offer education in August

    July 22nd, 2020
    by

    The Monroe County Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will issue benefits and offer nutrition education in August.


    Sparta museums open by reservation

    July 22nd, 2020
    by

    The Monroe County Local History Room & Museum and the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum, both located in the same building in Sparta, have reopened their exhibit spaces to the public by reservation.


    Two arrested in Valley on theft, drug and firearm charges

    July 21st, 2020
    by

    Executing a warrant for felony theft, Vernon County police searched the Simon O. Shelton residence in the unincorporated village of Valley on July 17 and arrested two people, according to Vernon County Sheriff John Spears.


    Suspected medical emergency may have caused Jefferson crash

    July 21st, 2020
    by

    Police suspect that an 86-year-old woman had a medical emergency that prompted her single-vehicle accident in the town of Jefferson at about 6 p.m. Monday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.


  • [Advertisement.]
  • Archives