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Educated: A Memoir (2018)

av Tara Westover

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5,0873201,513 (4.29)352
"Allt jag fått lära mig har rosats av kritiker över hela världen, låg etta på Barack Obamas sommarläslista 2018 och översatts till 26 språk. Den är en gripande skildring av en ung människas strävan efter kunskap, om att formas som människa, om familj, lojalitet och självförverkligande. Boken är den amerikanska författaren Tara Westovers internationella bästsäljare om en uppväxt där hon lär sig att förbereda sig för domedagen istället för att plugga matte och historia och umgås med andra barn. Hennes storebror blir den som kommer hem med nyheten att det finns en annan värld bortom gården en värld som kan ge henne ett helt annat liv. På en gård vid bergets fot i Idaho bor Tara Westover med sina föräldrar och sex syskon. På somrarna hjälper hon sin mamma att koka örter och på vintrarna arbetar hon i sin pappas skrotverkstad. När hon får ett stålrör genom benet, eller när hennes storebrors ben börjar brinna, åker familjen inte till sjukhuset, hennes mamma behandlar såren med örtomslag. Familjen är mormoner och survivalists de lever helt avskärmade från samhället. Tara är 17 år när hon för första gången sätter sin fot i en skola. Hon har aldrig hört talas om Förintelsen, Kennedy, Martin Luther King. [Elib]… (mer)
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engelska (309)  nederländska (2)  tyska (2)  spanska (1)  franska (1)  norska (1)  katalanska (1)  danska (1)  Alla språk (318)
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Reading this directly after Becoming by Michelle Obama was quite a juxtaposition. Obama's bio was very neatly packaged and vetted for its place in the annals of American history. It refers to major events in her history as a way of giving authority to its story.
This memoir, in the other hand, gets its authority from its raw messy details. It openly acknowledges that no one remembers events the same way and that time and trauma obscure those details. Obama's biography pretends everything is remembered even If the details are not all shared.
I think in a telling of a family that is torn in two over how the halves choose to recall traumatic events, it is integral that the evnts are not remembered accurately. A family plagued by brainwashing and violence is going to have a faulty memory: it is a why some of them can be brainwashed or convinced, why or how they can survive the physical abuse of the brother so many times and not believe it ever happened.
This is a raw, unpleasant (to put it mildly) story about a woman who barely managed to escape that physical and mental abuse. I am sorry that it is her narrow escape that becomes the focus of the latter part of the account. I hoped that once she got to college the story would be about how she arrived to educate her non-schooled self, how her formal education compared to her almost non-existent homeschooling. It seems to me that she perhaps has difficulty perceiving HOW education actually changed her (even though she knows it did). But to be fair, that is the story I wanted, not the one she was telling. Perhaps with some years of hindsight, that journey will be discerned and told.
For now, it is enough to say that this book sits near The Glass Castle as a memoir, but that I liked this one better for its real struggles with family loyalty and the complications of the deep-seated ties within us. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Nov 22, 2020 |
In the memoir Educated, Tara Westover immerses you in the story of her life, focusing on the events that shaped and influenced her, and the traumatic moments that filled her childhood and continued into her years as a young adult.

She describes her life, growing up in a Mormon survivalist family, to eventually leaving the place where she grew up. Her family was skeptical of the federal government, so Westover never went to school until she was 17 and never visited a doctor unless it was completely necessary. From traumatizing experiences involving major injuries to Westover leaving home to go to college, Educated guides you through a story of perseverance, fear, and hope.

Not only did the book tell me the story of someone’s childhood and influences and how they affected her life, but I also learned about a story much different from mine, which awakened me to how diverse peoples’ histories are. Westover demonstrates the effect of the lack of Education and how ideas and family beliefs can influence perspective on the events one lives through, by narrating and expressing experiences and perspectives. She recognizes how difficult it is to overcome and cope with this. However, the author brings bias by spin into the text by focusing on certain events and using particular word choice, which affects the message by giving the reader an unbalanced view of the events and emotions in her life.

Throughout the story, Westover uses word choice and craft that gives the reader an unrealistic view of her past. This view makes the impact of the story less meaningful. Some traumatic events are described plainly, without the emotion from Westover being described, and they convey more of just what happened. On page 288, the author writes, “After Dad had called, Shawn had stepped outside and slashed the dog to death, while his young son, only feet away …” This obviously traumatic event that she described was never paired with any emotion or feeling. It was just simply stated. Another example Westover writes, “He smiled when he saw me. ‘Who knew we’d have to send you to Cambridge to get you in the kitchen where you belong?’ he said.” The author is referencing a clearly misogynistic event but leads up to it with “He smiled when he saw me” taking away from how the words after must have made her feel. This lack of emotion leaves the reader with just the event to think about, and not as much how Westover was affected or changed by these moments specifically.

Likewise, she describes small positive events with more weight. Shawn, her brother, abused her throughout her life however on page 119 Westover writes, “He seemed old in that moment, wise. He knew about the world,” making it look like he wasn’t so bad. This takes away from how abusive Shawn was and how this affected Westover’s life. The author also states, “It was as if, when I sang, Dad forgot for a moment that the world was a frightening place, that it would corrupt me, that I should be kept safe, sheltered, at home.” This example clearly shows that these moments are more weighted because Westover says that her dad forgot his main beliefs that hurt and suppressed her throughout her childhood. The weight that is put into these events feels unneeded and unfit for how the people are described in other places in the story. Moments describing traumatic occurrences and small positive events demonstrate how the author could have made the story have more emotion incorporated to make the story more immersive.

I believe that because Westover’s life was filled with bad moments and thoughts, when she looked back to talk about her life, moments of small happiness stand out and seem more important than they actually are. The author seems to acknowledge this form of bias when she states on page 272, “Even the past could be different from the past because my memories could change.” Even though this craft did affect the text, the traumatizing events and more difficult moments in the past still made it feel that you knew what actually happened and that the author wasn’t holding key events in her life out of the story. Although this craft is incorporated into the story, it doesn’t hinder the text enough to obscure the message.

One of the critical elements Westover incorporates into her book is how the dissonance between the ideas and beliefs from her past and new ideas created difficult situations and how difficult it is to overcome and cope with the dissonance of the contrast of these ideas. Westover does this by including events that show the contrast between her life in college and her life at home. Westover describes how the bishop from a church near her college helped her on page 200, “I talked and he listened, drawing the shame from me like a healer draws infection from a wound.” However, on page 202, she writes, “The check was in my hand. I was so tempted, the pain in my jaw so savage that I must have held it for ten seconds before passing it back.” Westover passed the check back because her family wouldn’t have wanted her to take it, demonstrating how she hasn’t fully left her family beliefs and how she is tied to both beliefs. This moment where she is torn between what the bishop is telling her and what her dad is telling her demonstrates how two mentor figures can contrast in someone's life because it shows an event in which Westover had two conflicting beliefs in her life and how she dealt with it. This made it clearer to me what effect this dissonance has.

Another place where Westover shows this contrast is on page 248 when she writes, “Dad looked at me, waiting for me to give an opinion, but I felt alienated from myself. I didn’t know who to be. On the mountain, I slipped thoughtlessly into the voice of their daughter and acolyte. But here, I couldn’t seem to find that voice that, in the shadow of Buck’s Peak, came easily.” The fact that she no longer slips into the voice of her youth demonstrates how Westover felt different and was different in either situation and how she had changed. In her words of “I slipped thoughtlessly into the voice of their daughter” and “I couldn’t seem to find that voice,” we can see her struggle to act the same way in a different setting. This contrast helped me feel the struggle that Westover went through. The difficulty that came along with this contrast is what made these moments stand out to me.

At various times in the book, Westover expresses this clashing of beliefs by showing the effect of a traumatizing event on her ideas. When something traumatizing happened to her, she retreated to the ideas and thoughts of her family. When her dad was severely injured on page 223, she wrote, “Dad had always been a hard man-a man who knew the truth on every subject and wasn’t interested in what anybody else had to say. We listened to him, never the other way around.” Much positive emotion is being expressed here. Similarly, speaking about her abusive brother Shawn after he was injured, she included an excerpt from her diary, “I wish I had my best friend back, [I] wrote. Before his injury, I never got hurt at all.” This evidence shows that she thought of her family as better and forgot the negative elements in traumatizing moments. Talking about her dad as “knowing the truth on every subject” and her brother as her “best friend” conveyed this point very well.

Overall, these features included in the story make the change between school and home apparent and give the reader a better understanding of how difficult it is to cope with and overcome these old ideas. They contribute to the purpose by showing the key experiences that went along with the education.

Educated, obviously brings in Westover’s education and shows how it changed her throughout her life. Because of her education, she learned things that gave her a better understanding of the world. These ideas that she learned did not match the ones her family had ingrained in her, giving her a new perspective and the opportunity to change who she was. It spoke to me how she notes many times how she understood or didn’t understand what was happening at the time, and if she understands it now, which made me feel how the education impacted her.

Many moments in the story represent how the education she is receiving is changing her. For example, on page 125, after learning about math as a way to explain reality, she states, “Perhaps reality was not wholly volatile.” Contrast is shown here, with her noticing that what has been ‘taught’ to her by her family as well as the lack of education she received was revealed to her. On page 179 she writes. “My proximity to this murdered boy could be measured in the lives of the people I knew,” again showing a revealing aspect to her education and that she was surprised when she learned these things. This seems difficult to do considering she knows them as common sense now, but she still portrays them as surprising.

Events showing how the knowledge changed how Westover acted and thought were also incorporated. Before she went to school, her brother would call her a racist slur and she thought nothing of it, but when she came back from school Westover writes, “‘Don't call me that,’ I said. ‘You don’t know what it means.’” Both the previous behavior that was shown and the learned behavior give insight into how the lack of education and how receiving an education changed Westover. Finally, Westover makes it clear that she did not completely leave behind her family and that she could apply her learning to her family. “My dissertation gave a different shape to history, one that won neither Moromon nor anti-Mormon… it treated the Mormon ideology as a chapter in the larger human story," she wrote. Westover demonstrates how the education that she received changed her for the better and she had a general better understanding of the world after.

Throughout this education though, she shows how education isn’t everything and that it unlocks us to make a drive to change. When she starts going to college, an idea from her dad bombards her on page 154, “Dad said that there were gentiles everywhere -that most Mormons were gentiles, they just didn’t know it… and I suddenly realized that probably everyone at BYU was a gentile.” On page 266, she writes, “I don’t know why I said it; I suppose Shawn was on my mind. I regretted the words even as they left my lips, hated myself for saying them” These moments give light to the difficulty in reforming her beliefs, and that it wasn’t an easy process. Ultimately, the author illustrates how education is very important and that receiving an education changed her for the better. Showing her education contributes to the purpose of education and demonstrates her specific journey.

Educated is a great story and description of Westover’s life and inside it, she shows how education has impacted her. I strongly suggest reading this book due to the fact that it broadens your perspective on different people’s backgrounds and histories and what the impact of education truly is. Westover’s story is powerful in how it does not hold back what she went through and shows a clear message. ( )
  NLaurent10 | Nov 19, 2020 |
One of the best memoirs I've read. Usually they weaken the older the writer gets, but this one did not. The courage, honesty, and openmindedness she brings to this is astounding. I appreciate how she questions herself. The writing is vivid and she allows her family their complexity. Hope to reread soon. ( )
  erikasolberg770 | Nov 18, 2020 |
Nacida en las montañas de Idaho, Tara Westover ha crecido en armonía con una naturaleza grandiosa y doblegada a las leyes que establece su padre, un mormón fundamentalista convencido de que el final del mundo es inminente. Ni Tara ni sus hermanos van a la escuela o acuden al médico cuando enferman. Todos trabajan con el padre, y su madre es curandera y única partera de la zona.

Tara tiene un talento: el canto, y una obsesión: saber. Pone por primera vez los pies en un aula a los diecisiete años: no sabe que ha habido dos guerras mundiales, pero tampoco la fecha exacta de su nacimiento (no tiene documentos). Pronto descubre que la educación es la única vía para huir de su hogar. A pesar de empezar de cero, reúne las fuerzas necesarias para preparar el examen de ingreso a la universidad, cruzar el océano y graduarse en Cambridge, aunque para ello deba romper los lazos con su familia.
  bcacultart | Nov 16, 2020 |
One of the few books I've read where all the build up and all the good things I'd heard about it were exactly spot on. An "extreme" coming of age story, with scenes of domestic abuse, cult behavior, and mental health issues, as well as rural poverty and isolation, all experienced by the author as a home schooled young girl. The author finds her way through all of this and goes on to receive a high level education including a doctorate, while losing some parts of her family connection (including with her parents). Highly recommend. ( )
  stevrbee | Nov 7, 2020 |
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The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, & thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. - Virginia Woolf
I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing. - John Dewey
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...I had finally begun to grasp something that should have been immediately apparent: that someone had opposed the great march toward equality; someone had been the person from whom freedom had been wrested. (p. 180)
...something shifted nonetheless. I had started on a path of awareness, had perceived something elemental about my brother, my father, myself. I had discerned the ways in which we had been sculpted by a tradition given to us by others, a tradition of which we were either willfully or accidentally ignorant. I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse who sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others--because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward. (p. 180)
I had decided to study no history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I'd felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought that if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history of most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught. Dad could be wrong, and the great historians Carlyle and Macauley and Trevelyan could be wrong, but from the ashes of their dispute I could construct a world to live in. In knowing the ground was not ground at all, I hoped I could stand on it. (p. 238)
It's strange how you give the people you love so much power over you, I had written in my journal. ... He had defined me to myself, and there's no greater power than that. (p. 199)
I had been taught to read the words of men like Madison as a cast into which I ought to pour the plaster of my own mind, to be reshaped according to the contours of their faultless model. I read them to learn what to think, not how to think for myself. (p. 239)
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"Allt jag fått lära mig har rosats av kritiker över hela världen, låg etta på Barack Obamas sommarläslista 2018 och översatts till 26 språk. Den är en gripande skildring av en ung människas strävan efter kunskap, om att formas som människa, om familj, lojalitet och självförverkligande. Boken är den amerikanska författaren Tara Westovers internationella bästsäljare om en uppväxt där hon lär sig att förbereda sig för domedagen istället för att plugga matte och historia och umgås med andra barn. Hennes storebror blir den som kommer hem med nyheten att det finns en annan värld bortom gården en värld som kan ge henne ett helt annat liv. På en gård vid bergets fot i Idaho bor Tara Westover med sina föräldrar och sex syskon. På somrarna hjälper hon sin mamma att koka örter och på vintrarna arbetar hon i sin pappas skrotverkstad. När hon får ett stålrör genom benet, eller när hennes storebrors ben börjar brinna, åker familjen inte till sjukhuset, hennes mamma behandlar såren med örtomslag. Familjen är mormoner och survivalists de lever helt avskärmade från samhället. Tara är 17 år när hon för första gången sätter sin fot i en skola. Hon har aldrig hört talas om Förintelsen, Kennedy, Martin Luther King. [Elib]

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