If you asked me what was the best memoir I’ve read in the last year I would say Educated . This is a memoir about the author’s discovery of education, its transformative power and the price she had to pay for it. Westover grew up preparing for the “End of Days”, and was not sent to school, but decided to educate herself at the age of sixteen. What she has achieved in her life is inspirational and has written a highly readable memoir.

Born at Buck’s Peak, Idaho as a Mormon, although not in a traditional Morman family. Most Mormons go to school, but her parents gradually withdrew their children from the system (Tara is the youngest of seven). At first they home-schooled the children, but over time, they gave up on that too, though the mother did insist that they all learn to read.

Days were spent working in her father’s junkyard or helping her mother run the household. She is subjected to verbal and physical abuse from her brother Shawn which her father refuses to believe is happening. However it is another brother, Tyler who persuades who to leave and start her education at university. Then with the help of friends, boyfriends and lecturers, who encouraged and challenged her in equal measure, she ended up with a PhD from Cambridge.

It is a superbly written book, inspiring and a testament to how we can overcome some of the greatest challenges put to us and how education can change lives.

9781786330512/Hutchinson/£14.99

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