Vale book club studies ‘Educated,’ a tale of a re-invented life

Books on the Vale Book Club’s reading list can be checked out at the Vale Library. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

“Educated,” by Tara Westover, will be discussed by the Vale Book Club at 7 p.m. Thursday at the home of Carol Spears, 683 Cottage St. S.

Named one of the 10 best books of 2018 by the New York Times, “Educated” is the story of Westover, who was 17 when she first 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 metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a medical provider. Gashes, concussions, and burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was isolated, and no one saw that the seven children received an education or stepped in when an older brother became violent.

When another brother went to college and came back with news of the outside world, Tara decided to follow his footsteps. She taught herself enough math, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. Her studies transformed her, eventually taking her to Harvard and Cambridge University.

“Educated” tells of the struggle for self-invention, fierce family loyalty, and the grief caused by severing one’s closest ties. Westover’s coming of age story goes to the heart of what an education is and what it offers, the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

Note: Review information excerpted from Penguin/Random House, Goodreads and the New York Times. For information about the book club, contact Lucy Hutchens, 208-739-6954, or Marge Mitchell, 208-739-4777.

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