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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.

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, Westover has crafted, from her singular experience, a universal coming-of-age story, one 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.


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

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

Stephen Fry

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

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

Sophie Hannah

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

Extraordinary, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting

Carys Bray, author of A Song for Issy Bradley

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 powerful, jaw dropper of a book


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

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

Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of A Manual for Heartache

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

An astonishing and uplifting story about the transformative power of education

Mail on Sunday, 2018 Cultural Highlights

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

Literary Review

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

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

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

An extraordinary story, beautifully told.

Louise O'Neill

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

Unflinching and fascinating

Sarah Manning, Red

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

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

The Guardian

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

Tragic and uplifting in equal measure

Irish Tatler

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

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    February 26, 2018


    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

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

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

  • Hardback


    February 15, 2018


    RRP $40.00

    Online retailers

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

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


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