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  • Educated

  • Written by: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (706 ratings)

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Educated cover art

Educated

Written by: Tara Westover
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Free with 30-day trial

₹199 per month after 30-day trial. Cancel anytime.

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Selected as a book of the year by Amazon, The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, New York Times, Economist, New Statesman, Vogue, Irish Times, Irish Examiner and RED Magazine.

The multi-million copy best seller.

A Book of the Decade, 2010-2020 (Independent).

Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals. 

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education and the price she had to pay for it.

From one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2019.

Shortlisted for the 2018 BAMB Readers' Awards.

Recommended by Barack Obama, Anthony Beevor, Blake Morrison and Nina Stibbe.

©2018 Tara Westover (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"An amazing story, and truly inspiring. The kind of book everyone will enjoy. IT’S EVEN BETTER THAN YOU’VE HEARD." (Bill Gates)

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What listeners say about Educated

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars

A book I will revisit again and again.

It took me just three days to finish this audiobook. This is one of the best coming of age stories I have read. Reminds you to stand up for yourself and carve your own reality. Such a emotional but beautiful read. The narrator is great too. Thankyou Tara for sharing your story.

4 people found this helpful

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A must listen!!

It's an amazing account of Tara's extraordinary life journey. It has also been written beautifully to depict her life events as vividly as possible. While the parent child relationship is at the core of this book, it authentically captures the hope, despair, fear, anger, trust and more importantly resilience of the people involved. The author is just 31 at the time of book publishing, which shows how relatable this entire narrative could be for the younger generation. Finally, kudos to Julia Whelan for blowing life into the story through her excellent narration on audible

3 people found this helpful

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  • H
  • 20-08-21

If she can, you and I most definitely can too.

This book is about a girl (and her 6 siblings) growing up with parents who didn't believe in the govt, modern medicine, public education, religions except Mormonism, etc. Their parents made them spend majority of their time preparing for the "End of the World" by stocking food, fuel and weapons.

With this context and premise, the first thing to notice about the book is how well it's written. It's amazing how she wields her words despite not having a regular school education. Please also note that you must read this book with an open mind. Yes, most of the beliefs will not be relatable or even logical, but this is the story of extremists - and we find later, of the mentally ill. Parts of it might even offend you sorely (as they should), but try to sympathize and read on.

All of the family members, in one incident or another have gruesome, almost fatal accidents that are solely caused due to their beliefs. The parents lack common sense, refuse to learn from their mistakes and continue to be the primary reason to cause harm to their family.

One thing I (and I see other reviewers too) noticed was that it's, for lack of a better word, amusing that despite never having any school education and poor values growing up, three of the seven siblings not only finished their education, but also hold doctorates. This story is so crazy that I think it's natural to doubt it, to find it skeptical. It's very agitating to read how she starts losing her mind, because at one point, her family starts blaming her for lying about past events and they all collectively try to prove her she's wrong and shun her from the family unless she agrees to their "truth". And all this was while she was supposed to be researching and writing her thesis. It's astonishing and inspiring that she managed to study at Cambridge and Harvard despite such catastrophic personal battles. Her difficult upbringing isn't here to inspire us, but it most definitely will. If she can, you and I most definitely can too.

Trigger Warning : Physical Abuse
One of her brothers physically abused her often and all the events are explained in very jarring detail. I grimaced very often during these parts, especially since I was listening to the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, great narration!

Highly inspiring story of the author about her struggles and how she overcame those to get really 'educated', really a great book with fluidic writing,
The narration is superb, such a beautiful crisp voice and amazing style of narration which just carries you inside the story, making you feel the feelings of the author firsthand..

1 person found this helpful

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A thorough mix of Courage and resilience

I picked this up when i was going through a bad time myself and it was like the world was telling me to have faith and not give up.
This story is bound to have an effect long after you have finished it.
What i liked about it most was that every character has been showcased with good heart as well. its not all negative with everyone. Perfect example that people come with baggage and some truly transform and change as they grow, whereas some get lost.
Tara westover is one hell of a women.

1 person found this helpful

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Education transforms!!

A beautiful book which shows how education can break shackles in the mind and free one in a true sense. The trauma Tara endures in her childhood and how she comes to term with it in later life was just touching. Life was not a fairy tale for her but she emerged out of the chaos, that was her life, bit by bit and education held her up through the journey.

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Incredible, Fascinating, Goosebumps all over

Tara's memoir has been life-changing for me, to imagine the life she has lived and how she managed to escape it, Tara is no less than a hero. Highly recommended, this book is written with so much heart and soul, you can feel it in every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter.

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emotions well explained

mind speaking wonderfully captured and narrated. Different shades of life are captured in words, sounds like a painting speaking

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An eye-opener

Very interesting to listen to as it is a first-hand account of events that shed light on a community and its practices. Julia Whelan brings the story and characters to life.

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Overwhelming beyond words!

Don't think one can do justice to the story, the struggle and the learnings the book exudes by mere words! Read it to realize it!!

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  • Charmaine P
  • 09-10-18

You can’t be off the grid forever....it ain’t ‘right’!

There’s another side to life that I don’t even know about.... What was this father even thinking in keeping his family off the grid. And, the ‘vasbyt’ and determination of one child to get a degree without ever having been to school ..... I loved this book and it’s really well written.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jolene
  • 24-06-19

Best book of 2019

I loved this story, couldn't stop listening (downloaded the audio version). Tara opened up her world and took me with her. This is a story about family, how much we are shaped by it but also how much you sometimes have to cut the ties to survive. I was blown away by her determination. She kept listening to that little voice inside of her. In her heart she stayed loyal to them not by following their "rules" but by loving them. I think that's what matters in the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-01-20

A haunting book beautifully written

Story and narration was excellent. Powerful story of religion and how big a role education has.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dilip Bhagwat
  • 05-04-19

Excellent story, narration and gripping!

It is difficult to believe that people with such conviction of God`s hand in all things done still exist in today's world

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 21-01-19

Tortuous

I admire this woman for her remarkable journey to educate herself. But ... just how much abuse are you prepared to tolerate and endure and to repeatedly go back for more? Also the babblings of her deranged father and all of this "it's God's will" to rationalise and explain away his behaviour is also mind boggling. It is like stuff from the dark ages.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-11-22

Really good listen

Great listen whilst driving. It’s like story telling. Easy to listen to. But — You wouldn’t want to stop & wish the drive’s longer. The book tells us all her internal struggles despite all the successes she had. It is relatable that way. Her story is one of a kind but she had written it in a way where the readers can resonate in it in some way, shape or form. As a reader I felt the struggle and understood her love hate relationship with her family particularly towards her father & shawn. Nothing derogatory in it, you wouldn’t hate her family after reading. It was actually beautifully written!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-09-22

Mesmerizing

I had no idea the extent of a persons strength to will their dreams into reality. The immense stream of challenges she faced were heart wrenching and hard to digest and yet this story is proof that limitations only exist in our minds. Was so choked up towards the end and listened to the last 1 min of the book for nearly 10 times. Truly at a lost for words…

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  • Liam
  • 06-07-22

More about the tragedy than the overcoming

There is a lot of life in this memoir and I felt like nothing was left out.

But the cycle of abuse was frustrating for me to read as I just could not understand, or relate to, why the author kept putting herself in harms way, physically and psychologically.

I appreciated inclusion of opportunities for help that she declined along the way, and there is
resolution at the very end, but it was a long road to get there.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-06-22

Skin crawling. Courageous.

This memoir is an incredible story. The way it was delivered made me feel so much - a braid spectrum of emotion and so much dis-ease! I was frustrated and hurt for the life that Tara had to endure and how she just seemed not to be able to shake the shackles off of her mind.

An incredible story of triumph and such a wonderfully different perspective on the life of Mormons than I have experienced before.

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  • customer
  • 10-06-22

Extraordinary journey to self realisation

It’s so challenging for me to fathom how the author went through this level of domination and fundamentalist indoctrination and still had the courage and capacity to seek out and successfully attain a stellar education. Additionally that courage gave birth to life-changing insights and discernment. The understanding and wisdom she gained along the way was hard won but the remodelled version of herself that she became is awe inspiring.

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  • David Bowden
  • 03-03-18

Wonderful, inspiring book on the value of education

While this book has plenty of grim stories of life growing up in a Mormon survivalist home, this is much more than a book about survival.

Westover makes this a book about education in its clearest, most uncynical form. This is a hymn to the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning not to be frightened of making mistakes on your path to knowledge.

It is similar to JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Yet whereas Vance’s journey from hillbilly to literary star could only make you admire his determination & discipline, Westover’s is a more humane vision. She fails, doubts and self-sabotages yet never loses faith that acquiring knowledge about the world and her fellow humans is a liberation (even when it unsettles).

Most importantly she provides hope for us all: that hopeless ignorance is only ever a book or good teacher away from being transformed, if you have the desire.

Like Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood it can be a challenging read at times: but what sings out is not the badness she experiences, but the goodness & generosity she frequently encounters (whilst remaining astounding generous to her family’s flaws)

A beautiful, inspiring read

34 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-18

Extraordinary

This had me gripped from the beginning. Beautifully written. It's devastating and uplifting. Heart stopping and heart warming. One of the best books I've ready in a long time. Inspiring all the way.

19 people found this helpful

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  • TK
  • 25-02-19

Unique and great... but unfinished and incomplete

Julie Whelan is a fantasic narrator in this audiobook. Tara's story is fascinating and unique, but there is a slight irritation after finishing her book. After a way too detailed first third of the book about her childhood, we fast forward through life experiences and pass others in tangent, that would be crucial to understand the author's change in perspective. It feels like the author, despite her best intentions, still hasn't come to terms with herself and the family. The story has not yet ended, and Tara needs to do some self-exploration over things that are glaringly obvious to the outsider. Or at least it seems so from her book.
I almost want to ask the author to get, or continue getting counselling - and I would really want to hear her next book.

15 people found this helpful

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  • David J. Carpenter
  • 22-09-18

Outstanding

Gripping, haunting, disturbing, frightening, inspiring, courageous, uplifting, honest, heart and soul - just some of the words that come to mind in this must read. The journey to realisation and self worth laid out in uncompromising honesty. A privilege to be allowed to share the journey of this remarkable person.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 14-03-18

Wow

I found this very shocking & sad at times.
I throughly enjoyed listening to the story of Tara’s life unfold.
I found it hard to understand how her father had such a hold over his children even after Tara had started a PHD her father still managed to cause problems in Tara’s mind.
A very brave lady, who managed to get herself an education of the highest level despite never attending a school.
I could not under stand why towards the end she felt she might have been guilt of wrong doing.
Sad thing us there are children today being raised in similar homes.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Heather
  • 28-07-19

Wonderful and thought provoking

Beautifully written and narrated, often painfully depicting a child, a family, abused, bulleyed and controlled under the cover of Mormonism. Shocking that such derranged minds could wield such power over their innocent families using threats and violence, hidden from the authorities under their cloak of religeon. Hard to know if the abusers were simply brainwashed into their psychopathy or were born warped and enjoyed the protection of their mormon enclave to carry out their sadistic rituals.
The book made me angry for the family members, who, while striving to be 'good' people gave power to evil men.
It's amazing to me that after the torture she suffered, mental and physical, the cruelty and rejection, the author still revered and loved her parents and sought their approval and affection. Making her the greater person.
It's always hard for those us who haven't experienced this sort of abuse to understand the control these abusers have, the guilt and self blame they instil into their victims.
At the end of it all, despite Tara's true goodness of heart and forgiving spirit, I do wish someone would grab that nasty old dad by the scruff and throw him and his psychopathic son Sean into goal and give them a taste of their own medicine!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Elma
  • 28-03-18

Autobiography

A well written account of the life so far of Tara Westover. Although I was hoping to get more insight into the Mormon faith. The book is very moving and is very descriptive, it feels very real. This will always be about perception though and it will raise it's own questions.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Eadaoin
  • 31-07-19

Moving

family estrangement written with pure softness and truth . Despair , loss , love , trauma and confusion can be felt everywhere yet the authors own grit powered through.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-09-18

a tinderbox life story

a breathless and humbling story of survival and phoenix like success. A clarion call for education and understanding of mental health.

3 people found this helpful

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  • helen t.
  • 19-06-20

a tough listen

Horrifying story revealing how difficult it is to recover from a traumatic abusive childhood. Tara's achievements are very much to be admired but it was difficult for the reader to keep being taken back to this deluded and dangerous bunch of fanatics.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Taylor
  • 21-12-18

Best memoir I’ve ever read - and extraordinary work

A touching autobiography, both devastating and uplifting at the same time. It is a privilege to be let into Westover’s world; one of- heartbreaking family loyalty, but also the extraordinary power of education changing ones life.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-11-18

Memoir not to be missed

Fabulous book which invokes all the emotions. Hard to believe women could still be treated like this in the current day. Insightfully and emotionally written book about families, domestic violence, religious culture and of course the role of education in all of this. The narrator was excellent. One of my favourite Audiobooks so far

11 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 09-03-19

A ‘jagged little patch of Idaho’ = a remarkable story of transformation

The multiple layers of this book are simultaneously bared and interwoven in a way which is very accessible despite most likely being beyond any frame of reference available to most readers.

There is a restrained steadiness in the telling of the story which is effective in keeping the reader engaged for the entire journey.

Westover’s personal journey and accomplishments are truly remarkable, particularly when set against the backdrop of her family life and circumstances, in that ‘jagged little patch of Idaho.’

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-19

interesting but not outstanding

The rave reviews had me investing. But the story wasnt memorable nor will I be recommending it to others.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • T. May
  • 14-06-20

Why can't I give zero stars?

Dull. I found myself wondering who gives a. It is truly a waste of time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-11-19

Do yourself a favour and read this

Tara Westover you are a legend!! More people should celebrate their self-growth and learn to not self-loth.
We are not all fortunate to grow up in families deserved of respect. Thank you for sharing your story. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • HR
  • 30-07-19

Tara your amazing!

Tara you defied the odds through sheer strength of character which guided you to safe shores without your conscience knowledge most of the time. I hope life brings you every conceivable joy & a few inconceivable ones too, you deserve it my dear. 😊

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-12-18

Outstanding

Beautifully written and expertly narrated, this is a fascinating story that had me captivated from start to finish. Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kristeen
  • 28-04-21

Compelling and disturbing.

I chose it for my bookclub. everyone enjoyed it and it generated an interesting discussion.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kacie
  • 08-04-21

wow what a story

The beginning was a little slow but but after the first few chapters as the story of her life begins to unfold it became something I didn't want to put down.

1 person found this helpful