Westover’s story is just incredible. This is one of the highest shock-value memoirs I’ve ever read, and the most shocking part about it is that her story is true. The way her family system operates is so far from reality, it was a fascinating experience. Westover writes with both emotional closeness and a reflective distance, that feels as much for her protection as for objectivity’s sake.
Tara Westover was 17 by the time she stepped into a classroom. Her dad is a survivalist, and he had a lot of pent up fear towards the government that prevented him from registering his children at birth, enrolling them in school, or accessing the community around them. With three brothers and a sister, Westover was in for a wild ride growing up.
This memoir is heartbreaking, but Westover demonstrates a resiliency that brought me hope, and I hope would bring any reader hope. Westover is not trying to condemn her family, but rather share her experience and explore her complicated relationship with her family and her past. I imagine the experience of writing for her was rather therapeutic, as evidenced by what she says about journaling. And I think it is brave of her to share her story and hope that others can find connection in their own lives.
I’m finding it hard to find the words to describe how wonderful the experience of reading this book was, or how amazing Westover’s story itself was. The best I can do is simply encourage you to pick up a copy from wherever you get your books, and read her story.