Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

Book Review: Educated By Tara Westover

By: Eman Aldajah

Why the popular bestseller is a summer must read!

It’s one of the best feelings when you read a book you wish would never end, a book so inspiring and gripping that once you flip the final page, you get hit by the bittersweet sensation of finishing a story and losing a friend at the same time.

Throughout our lives, we go through school and university as an essential and certain phase of education. That education, we assume is an available and required journey everyone needs to go through. While this may be true for some, it is not for all.

Educated by Tara Westover is an inspirational memoir depicting the challenges the author faced against her rural, traditional family and community. Raised by a delusional and paranoid father in the middle of rural Idaho, Westover learned to fight society and her own family for what she believed in: the power of education.

Westover was born as the youngest of seven children to her parents Faye, her mother who works as a midwife, and Gene, her father who works as a metal scrap collector. Growing up, she and her siblings had to endure the paranoid and delusional thoughts of her father against the federal government, and as a result, were prevented from attending school, having birth certificates, and receiving medical attention.

Having her life dominated and controlled by her religious and strict father, Westover’s potential was suppressed. Afraid of being considered ‘sinful’, she was afraid of gaining independence and being who she was. Once Westover turned fifteen, her older brother Shawn became physically and emotionally abusive. After this, Westover worked hard to go to university to get away from her toxic household. When she turned seventeen, she then made the challenging, yet most rewarding decision to pursue a college degree.

During her time at college, Westover shares her first experiences with the outside world and learned what it means to discover who you are. She describes her first encounter drinking soda at seventeen, learning to live with friends, and finally accepting receiving medical attention.

Taking you on an unbelievable and beautifully depicted journey, Westover shares with her readers the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and into the vision of whom you want to be - despite the opposite environment you may be in.

Written in simple, yet deep prose, Westover beautifully captures her journey from being a metal scrap collector and practicing midwife to becoming a Ph.D. Historian and professor at Cambridge University. Throughout the memoir, she shares stories and important moments in her life that made her appreciate, more than ever, the power of being educated.

A New York Times bestseller, Educated is an inspirational read aimed at young and older adults and was featured as one of Bill Gate’s favorite books. Educated is a Summer must-read.

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Eman Aldajah is a Palestinian/Jordanian born in Chicago, USA. As a passionate writer, Eman aspires to become an influential author one day. Eman’s creative writing skills have afforded her the opportunity to be featured in The World’s Biggest Anthology for Contemporary Poets 2020, to have her poem be featured on the LettersLive Instagram feed about the COVID-19 pandemic, and to create her own YouTube channel dedicated to sharing original poetry about human rights. Apart from reading and writing, Eman likes to spend her free time with family, ice skating, baking and learning new languages. 

Like what you read? Don't hesitate to contact her for other writing opportunities!