I don’t think that the world needs another review of Educated, so I’ll keep my comments short. This memoir completely lives up to the hype and is honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Westover does an excellent job at telling the story both from the perspective of her past self and from the future. The storytelling is honest and brutal, and Westover’s voice is unique and holds a fiction like quality. The first part of the memoir does an excellent job at setting the tone and giving us a good understanding of each of her family members. Each of their individual stories and personalities works to build tension within the household. You can really feel young Tara’s desperation, but also her naivete and ignorance. In parts 2 and 3, the reader feels the pressure with Westover as she tries to balance her past and future. This is the most unique portion of the book because I feel as though memoirs of this kind often just recall a person’s childhood and then halt at the age of 18 and don’t really spend a lot of time with their adulthood. But in Educated, the majority of the novel is focused on her early twenties, which is where I am in my life right now. I related a lot of Westover in her discussion of family values vs. the rest of the world and what she wants to do. I think this is something that everyone can relate to, although obviously not to Westover’s extreme. The other thing that struck me was how important the teachers and professors in her life were to her success. All throughout Educated, people help her along on her way out, and it made me think about the people in my life that have helped me too.
NEXT: The Girls by Emma Cline