A Memoir

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2018]
ISBN: 9780399590504
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 21, 2018

It really held my interest until the last 100 pages or so, then it seemed to drag and be repetitive.

Oct 20, 2018

Carol M recommends

Hillsboro_ElizabethH Oct 18, 2018

This book was pretty amazing - seeing how she rose above her upbringing to get an education, when her family was against it. It was sometimes a hard read, though - it's crazy the things she went through - physical and emotional abuse, and I suspect sexual abuse, but she never comes out and claims it happened.

Oct 18, 2018

A talented young writer with a very interesting memoir. My admiration for her is immense not only for her survivor growing up in a repressive, single minded, often dangerous family environment, but also for her will and persistence to learn and succeed.
There is no bitterness in her memoir, sometimes you wonder about the warmth that is there where you don't expect it.
Her book astonished me, I didn't have any idea that families like hers existed in the late twentieth, early twenty-first century.

Oct 18, 2018

Her first book? Wow. It is absolutely outstanding. I am old enough to be her mother and yet so much of what she wrote struck me right in the heart. Just finished reading the library's copy and went online to buy it for myself so I can highlight passages that I need to remember and ponder. Amazing woman. So impressed. Wish she was my sister.

JCLHeatherM Oct 08, 2018

Tara Westover grew up in a secluded environment with her Mormon family, never having the privilege of an education until she attended Brigham Young University at the young age of 17. Attending college opened Tara’s eyes to the unpleasant truths of her upbringing and the world around her, yet it was her education that led to her bridging the gap between her past, present, and ultimately future.

Chapel_Hill_SarahW Oct 05, 2018

This was such a good read. For me it definitely fit into the nonfiction that reads like fiction category. I was completely engrossed in Westover's family life, her innate drive to learn, and especially her use of her journals to re-create and make sense of who she was and who she has become. Her training as a historiographer helps her to examine her past through many lenses. Her ability to recognize the problematic nature of a remembered past, leads to an extremely honest recounting. I am amazed and inspired by what Dr. Westover has achieved.

Sep 23, 2018

This book was one of the best & saddest books I've read in a long time. Tara Westover's first book is extremely well written. To be able to come out of such an abusive & difficult home life and to be able to clearly write with such clarity is amazing. Her own self preservation & inner strength is what was able to carry her through some of the most horrific childhood experiences a person can experience without leaving permanent dibilating life long effects. She was able to break free from the hold her family had on her & to realize her memories were real, whether her family believed it or not & too be able to recognize that in order to grow as a person, she needed to cut herself off of everything she had none. Just because your parents are your parents, doesn't mean that they are right. Their twisted emotional & psychological hold they had over Tara, was terrible. Their reality of the world couldn't be further from what is trule true! It was comforting to know that in the end, she had come to a realization that her own sanity depended on her being completely free from their hold on her & realizing she was stronger & healthier not to have that part of her family in her life. I can only imagine what wonderful things she will contribute to society as time goes on.

Sep 22, 2018

Although it's a compelling story, I found it somewhat poorly written and badly structured. Has echoes of Krakauer's work and "Wild."

Sep 19, 2018

Amazing book. Extremely interesting memoir about a young woman's journey from being raised in an isolated and sheltered life to gaining a college education and learning more about the world. So good!

View All Comments


Add a Quote

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 14, 2018

“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.”


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top