134 pages 4 hours read

Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 2018

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  • Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir; Bildungsroman
  • Originally Published: 2018
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1010L; College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: Prologue and 40 chapters; approximately 352 pages; approximately 12 hours, 10 minutes on audiobook
  • Central Concern: The memoir depicts Westover’s journey from growing up in a strict, off-the-grid family in rural Idaho with no formal education to earning a PhD from Cambridge University. The narrative explores themes of family, survival, faith, education, and the transformative power of self-belief.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Physical and emotional abuse; neglect; serious accidents and injuries; extreme religious beliefs; mental illness; trauma; animal abuse.

Tara Westover, Author

  • Bio: Born 1986; raised in a strict and isolated family in rural Idaho; received no formal education until age 17; self-taught enough to gain admission to Brigham Young University (BYU); earned a PhD from Cambridge University; known for her powerful storytelling and exploration of the importance of education.
  • Awards: John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle (2018); LA Times Book Prize (2018)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Leaving Home and Finding One’s Place in the World
  • The Different Paths to Becoming Educated
  • The Challenge of Memory and Story
  • The Consequences of Belief and Doubt

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the historical context around Mormon religious beliefs and the cultural impact of the Y2K doomsday predictions, both of which affect the course of Westover’s memoir.