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Common Reading

Educated: A Memoir

(Postponed until the 2021-22 academic year)

Tara Westover’s celebrated book, Educated: A Memoir (Penguin Random House), has been chosen as the 2021-22 Providence College Common Reading selection. Published in 2018, Educated traces Westover’s journey from the poorly schooled daughter of survivalists in Idaho to Trinity College in England – where she would earn a doctorate in history.

More about Educated: A Memoir

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she 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. In the summer, she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter, she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when Tara’s older brother became violent.

Then, lacking a formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

About Tara Westover

Tara Westover is an American author. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. An older brother taught her to read, and after that her education was erratic and haphazard, with most of her days spent working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She received an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009 and in 2014 was awarded a Ph.D. in history. Currently, she is a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center, working on projects related to media and political polarization.

Information courtesy of www.tarawestover.com.