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An extraordinary memoir about a woman's discovery of education, its transformative power and the price she has to pay for it.

'A memoir to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage . . . a compelling and ultimately joyous account of self-determination.Sunday Times

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'
Both the book and its writer are remarkable in every respect' Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected.

She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.

As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.

EDUCATED is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, from her singular experience Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets 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.

Reviews

A memoir to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage . . . a compelling and ultimately joyous account of self-determination

Sunday Times

A dazzling example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to something…an inspirational, truly unique coming-of-age tale

BBC Ones to Watch in 2018

[A] fascinating, jaw-dropping memoir

Nina Stibbe, Observer

[A] superb memoir… Westover’s journey from a remote corner of the American west to one of the world’s grandest seats of learning is extraordinary . . . Her story, of fighting to be herself, is as old as the hills she came from, but Westover gives us such a fresh, absorbing take that it deserves to bring her own private Idaho into the bestseller lists, book groups and, eventually, cinemas.

The Times

Brilliantly recounts her journey towards knowledge and enlightenment

Blake Morrison, Guardian

Westover has a story to tell that shouldn't be ignored

The Guardian

Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests. That someone who grew up in her circumstances could achieve as much as she has is astonishing . . . The central tension she wrestles with throughout her book is how to be true to herself without alienating her family. Her upbringing was extraordinary, but that struggle is not.

The Economist

This memoir [is] one of the wisest accounts of family love and betrayal that I’ve read

Mail on Sunday

Heartbreaking in its honesty...[an] intelligent and powerful memoir

Literary Review

An astonishing and uplifting story about the transformative power of education

Mail on Sunday, 2018 Cultural Highlights

This fiercely intelligent memoir is a fascinating and compassionate view of another world and the author’s struggle to both escape from and understand it as she heads out into the world

The Pool, Ones to Watch in 2018

[An] astonishing autobiography

Antony Beevor

A shocking and powerfully moving memoir

Daily Express

What comes through is Tara’s grit, determination and instinctive sense that somewhere within education lies her redemption ... There is pain and adversity in this heart-wrenching memoir but ultimately what Tara leaves us with is hope

Sunday Express

Tragic and uplifting in equal measure

Irish Tatler

Educated is an unflinching account of love and brutality, of the strength of blood ties and the power of imagination, and of a young woman whose intellect, self-knowledge and courage illuminate every page. There are passages so painfully vivid that they sear themselves into the memory, yet Westover is never prurient or punitive: even when writing from the depths, she does so with compassion and grace. Both the book and its writer are remarkable in every respect

Sarah Perry, bestselling author of THE ESSEX SERPENT

Marvellous. There is no feeling like discovering a young writer who is springing up fully armed with so much talent

Stephen Fry

Absolutely superb . . . the last 100 pages were so gripping I could hardly breathe

Sophie Hannah

Tara Westover's beautifully written memoir shines a light on a part of our country that we too often overlook. Her powerful tale—of trying to find a place for herself in the world, without losing her connection to her family or her beloved home—deserves to be widely read. My Mamaw would have been rooting for Tara.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy

Educated, in showing us the unstoppable power of a young women determined to make her own decisions and find her own way, is an inspiring and important tale for our times. I am still cheering her on

Rebecca Stott, award winning author of THE DAYS OF RAIN

Unflinching and fascinating

Sarah Manning, Red

An extraordinary story, beautifully told.

Louise O'Neill

Extraordinary, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting

Carys Bray, author of A Song for Issy Bradley

This ferociously intelligent memoir is nevertheless full of kindness and insight. In looking beyond the triumphant point where many memoirs would finish, it achieves something far more powerful: Westover demonstrates that leaving a family is not the work of a moment but of a lifetime. Unflinching in confronting the cost of self-preservation, this book is beautiful in its bravery.

Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of THE MERMAID AND MRS HANCOCK

A powerful, jaw dropper of a book

Stylist

A book that I did splits over

Mandy Patinkin

A striking story, beautifully told. Tara is an incredible new talent

Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of A Manual for Heartache

A punch to the gut, a slow burn, a savage indictment, a love letter: Educated somehow contrives to be all these things at once. Tara Westover guides us through the extraordinary Western landscape of her coming of age, and in clear, tender prose makes us feel what she felt. We give ourselves over to her telling, even when she takes us to the very darkest places a family can dwell. Rarely have I read a book that made me so uncomfortable, so enraged, and at the same time so utterly, entirely absorbed. I loved this book, and this woman.

Claire Dederer

This remarkable memoir – one of the best I've ever read – is my kind of miracle. The book made me cringe, cry out, cover my eyes, shake with anger, beam with pride, and appreciate the trials that led to my own education. Tara's story will find a place alongside modern classic memoirs, like Wild and The Glass Castle. It's that special

Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire

Breathtaking, heart-wrenching, inspirational – I’ve never read anything like this. Educated tells the story of a young girl's escape from violence and emotional prison. It is about the love of family and the pain of family both, the ferocity of the human spirit, and the power of education to change lives. Educated is one of the best books, and Westover one of the most gifted writers, that I've read in a very long time

Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Powerful, moving, brave, naked and completely at home in its form . . . This is a daughter’s story of how she grew into herself and comes to understand her home.

Mona Simpson, author of Casebook and Anywhere But Here

An incredible memoir of triumph over seemingly endless adversity. The author's ability to write about her experiences in a clear-eyed, nonjudgmental way makes her story a pleasure to read. A study in the power and wonder of resilience

Cea Sunrise Person

Educated is a wise and deep reflection about surviving one’s family. I bow down to Tara Westover, not only for her marvelous, sentence-by-sentence craftsmanship but also for making sense and meaning from a confounding and hair-raising childhood. This is memoir at its best

Kelly Corrigan

Educated is so powerful, so haunting . . . [Westover’s] finely measured, beautifully rhythmic prose conveys the pain of trying to reconcile herself with being estranged from her parents, no matter how delusional they might be. Rejecting any form of binary thinking, she writes with a humaneness that comes partly from having suffered, and the book that grew out of that suffering is a rare and unexpected gift

The Irish Independent

Tara Westover’s exhilarating coming of age story has only just come out and it’s already a classic … it leaves us readers dazzled and humbled in equal measure

Culture Whisper, Best New Memoirs of 2018

An extraordinary tale

Red Magazine

Totally unputdownable

Marissa Carter, Irish Independent

Remarkable

Woman & Home

A wonderful read

Church Times

A beautifully written, lyrical memoir packed full of incident and well worth a read

The Learning Spy

A beautifully written account…fit to stand alongside the great modern memoirs.

Sunday Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099511021

    November 19, 2018

    Windmill Books

    RRP $28.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Trade Paperback

    9781786330529

    February 26, 2018

    Hutchinson

    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Hardback

    9781786330512

    February 15, 2018

    Hutchinson

    RRP $40.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Extract

Prologue

I’m standing on the red railway car that sits abandoned next to the barn. The wind soars, whipping my hair across my face and pushing a chill down the open neck of my shirt. The gales are strong this close to the mountain, as if the peak itself is exhaling. Down below, the valley is peaceful, undisturbed. Meanwhile our farm dances: the heavy conifer trees sway slowly, while the sagebrush and thistles quiver, bowing before every puff and pocket of air. Behind me a gentle hill slopes upward and stitches itself to the mountain base. If I look up, I can see the dark form of the Indian Princess.

The hill is paved with wild wheat. If the conifers and sagebrush are soloists, the wheat field is a corps de ballet, each stem following all the rest in bursts of movement, a million ballerinas bending, one after the other, as great gales dent their golden heads. The shape of that dent lasts only a moment, and is as close as anyone gets to seeing wind.

Turning toward our house on the hillside, I see movements of a different kind, tall shadows stiffly pushing through the currents. My brothers are awake, testing the weather. I imagine my mother at the stove, hovering over bran pancakes. I picture my father hunched by the back door, lacing his steel-toed boots and threading his callused hands into welding gloves. On the highway below, the school bus rolls past without stopping.

I am only seven, but I understand that it is this fact, more than any other, that makes my family different: we don’t go to school.

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