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“Educated” (to a point) by Tara Westover: A personal Review

This riveting written treat, has engrossed me for the past few weeks.

It is a powerful evocative memoir, skillfully put together, with words that impress themselves on your mind and descriptions that haunt!

I cannot help being a little annoyed at her though, for her too long dumb acquiescence, in this mind distorting cult. With its fabricated but slavishly obeyed and administered, set of decided differences.

Her unyielding bond to her birthplace, her myopic faith which has obviously not been completely rehabilitated, places a sizable question mark over how educated, she has in fact become.

Its incredible to believe that at 17 years of age, she’s only hearing about the holocaust for the first time. Its shamefully incredible!

She seems strangely tongue tied so often, even when her experiences of the outside world do not match the garish image, portrayed by her parents and stoked by her silence.

Her continuing muteness about saying anything negative about the Mormon church, which was once described to me (by a born and raised Mormon) as “the nicest cult in the world,” coupled with her docility in her interactions with her fundamentalist family and their beliefs, is at times very frustrating to read.

For a lifetime, she bows down relentlessly to these beliefs, instead of challenging them with her fashioned intellect and factual knowledge. She must know that it is the lack of such criticism, that allows these vestiges of incubated ignorance to survive.

Where does the line between family allegiance and tacit support for criminality begin? I say this in relation to medical emergencies being addressed, by way of tinctures and aged/misplaced beliefs.

When a man is burnt almost beyond recognition and still considers it a blessing, there is either something very wrong with him, or the will of the God he follows, or both.

Whatever the diagnosis for such people, whether or not it is the result of some rampant bipolar depression, it is certainly the polar opposite of normality and it is frightening to acknowledge that such groups are alive and thriving in America and throughout the modern world.

She returns home from a Mormon university, where the forged mental mold cannot be broken. But surely she can see for herself the fetid injustice, of allowing a burn victim to suffer so much pain, while trying to treat their injuries with basic salves.

I felt sad for the hair-pulled young girl and the girl with a broken toe at BYU. Less sad also, for the adult she became.

The scariest part of the story, is that it is painfully true. This is not a story anchored down by time. A lot of the events relate to the 90s (1990s not 1890s) and the first decades of the new millennium.

No good can ever come, through divorcing yourself from society, especially for (in this case) religious reasons. They become hothouses of intolerance and interpretations of “divine” bigotry.

Maybe this is the strongest moral of the story, that it can take a lifetime, to circumvent or repair the mess of early fundamentalist programming.

That unfortunately, two diametrically opposed beliefs can never be reconciled, with a world of embellished stories. It must never be a proper substitute for the quest for knowledge.

It speaks to me, of the mind crushing effects of religious doctrine and of how your personality and indeed the way you navigate society, have to be relearned from scratch.

Homeschooling sounds terrible to me, an isolation unit for the mind!

Viewing the outside world, as a concocted, debauched, steamy quagmire of sin and of government interference. This is someone who’s youth was misspent, canning peaches for the end of days.

But not all Mormons are like this, you might say?

Can these people not look at the Internet and understand that there is not the faintest archaeological evidence, that Jesus ever came to America? There was never any great big celestial battle, fought in upstate New York!

There has to be something said against these mind eroding techniques, of which isolation and only befriending other like minded individuals, are invaluable aids.

This book is a fascinating page turner, with all the juicy ingredients, which makes it perfectly understandable, why its an international  bestseller.

A favoured mechanism kicks in, as I approach the end of this book. I start reading extra slow, knowing that soon these animated characters and their vivid stories, will become a retreating memory.

My way around this is to pass the book on to a close friend. This book needs to be shared and reread.

You really never know what goes on behind closed doors. It’s the languid mix of stale reality, lofty ideals and curtailed ambition that makes this such a page turner and a deserved international bestseller.

Links used for this blog;

Get this book;


How the Mormon Church makes money;


The statistics for homeschooling in America today


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