What would you do in this situation?

Earlier this year, I finally got around to reading the memoir Educated by Tara Westover. So many people had recommended it to me. It’s an international bestseller that has been translated into more than 40 languages. It’s won multiple awards.

Amazon says: Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate until she was nine years old. At sixteen, to escape her father’s radicalism and a violent older brother, Tara left home. What followed was a struggle for self-invention, a journey 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.

It is no doubt the most amazing story of survival and yes, self-invention. I was rooting for Tara throughout and felt deeply for her. She really suffered and there were moments where I had to read with my hands over my face. I wanted to reach into the book and strangle Tara’s parents and scream at them for what they did to their daughter and what they didn’t protect her from. It’s a shocking read and I do recommend it. Talk about triumph over adversity – with a hell of a lot of work by Tara – a courageous and tenacious woman, to become who she is. I also felt it needed a smidge more editing and that certain things weren’t answered or explained. No matter, this reading lark is subjective. Power to Tara, for what she has been through and for this incredible piece of work.

I wondered if her family read it. I hoped they did and that they were truly ashamed and apologetic – although knowing of them what I knew via the memoir, I doubted this would be the case.

But I heard something a couple of weeks ago that even in the context of Tara Westover and Educated made my jaw drop.

Her mother, yes her mother, has written a counter-memoir. It’s called Educating.

Yep. Can you imagine? You could have knocked me down with a feather. The woman has got more front than Brighton and is even more spectacularly deluded than I thought possible.

On Tara’s website, below a picture of her book, she says: “Publishing it was pretty much the most insane idea I’ve ever had. And a lot of insane things happened as a result.”

She is not kidding. She might be referring to her global fame or her mother’s book. Maybe both.

Here’s a blog about the situation that I found fascinating. I’m going to read more about the whole situation and see if Tara has spoken about her mother’s memoir.

Will I read Educating? I doubt it. I’d feel pretty disloyal to Tara, to be honest.

Have you read Educated? Did you know about Educating? If you do, or do now, will you, have you, read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Mine are mainly this: BLIMEY.

4 Comments

  1. Kerry Smith on July 26, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you for linking to my website. It’s sure been a popular post. Even one of Tara’s relatives has commented on it.

    • Marnie on July 28, 2022 at 9:15 am

      Hi Kerry, you’re very welcome – thank you for such a great, informative and well-researched blog. What an extraordinary situation.

  2. Lizzy Perkins on July 31, 2022 at 11:17 am

    Hi Marnie,

    I have not read either books, but the whole situation is fascinating. Having been a member of an alternative religion (alternative to the major religions of our world), I know how being ‘different’ can be viewed by the majority of people. So that is my view point. I probably will not read either book, but I really like how Kerry finished her article by saying: ‘Educating is the other side of the Educated story. LaRee’s desire is to go on educating, teaching about natural remedies and other things she deems important for her family and community. To me, both books together provide an opportunity for us to look at both sides of a story. In today’s world, where we are quick to jump to rash conclusions based on what we see on social media or in the news, we’d do well to remember that factual reports are open to interpretation. Consider the source. Be informed. Educate yourself.’ I like that balanced point of view.

    I think if I published a memoir about my family, other members would definitely have differing points of view which would not make my memoir untrue.

    • Marnie on August 1, 2022 at 10:06 am

      Hi Lizzy, thank you so much for taking the time to read this. And thank you for your comment with your unique perspective. I agree that Kerry’s blog is so well balanced. For me, in this memoir, the religion isn’t the dominant part of the story, the child neglect and abuse is. I’m sure you’re right about what would happen if you published your own memoir, everyone does remember things differently. If you ever do read these books, let me know as I would love to know what you think.

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Dear Marnie