Hi Ho, Bookworms!
I keep thinking, “dang I should write about some books!” But then I get overwhelmed by the VAST backlog of excellent books I’ve read and not written about and I don’t know where to start. I just end up going on Twitter and talking about how much I love Sesame Street, which isn’t a thing anyone is interested in, really. Except Sammers, obviously. He’s a big fan of Elmo and Abby Cadabby. Yeah, yeah, I know screen time and babies, but it’s EDUCATIONAL. Which brings me to the actual book I want to talk to y’all about today: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. (Look at that segue. I’m a walking Dad Joke.)
I don’t remember where I first heard about this book but I think what finally pushed it high enough on my TBR to actually read it was Alice and Kim’s excellent podcast. Admittedly I gravitate toward fiction as a general rule, but the premise of this sounded too good to pass up. Tara Westover wrote a memoir about her experiences growing up among survivalists in rural Idaho. She never attended traditional school, and spent her days prepping for the end of days or assisting her parents in their work. Her father ran a metal salvage junkyard among other odd jobs, her mother was a midwife and herbalist. Her father was exceptionally fearful of the medical establishment, so her mother’s herbs served the family’s medical needs for everything from colds to concussions. Hard to believe a child from this background would end up earning a PhD from Cambridge, but that’s exactly what happened.
The abstract sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? And yet it doesn’t describe how completely BANANAPANTS this book was. I realize that the whole point of the book was how Westover managed to go from absolutely no formal (or informal, really) educational instruction to a friggin PhD, but I have to admit to being sidetracked by the family’s response to medical emergencies. In fact, I tweeted some of my reactions whilst listening to the audiobook:
As you can see, I was rather in my feelings about this medical situation. Here’s the thing. I know the medical establishment is not without fault, and I think that there are homeopathic treatments that are very effective that get overlooked in favor of pharmaceuticals. Essential oils may very well help with a myriad of things from headaches to teething to allergy relief. Just, you know, don’t rely on them to cure a traumatic brain injury, third degree burns, or replace vaccinations. And for the love. If you see exposed brain tissue, CALL 911.
I highly recommend this book. The closest read-alike I can come up with is The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (which is also excellent, review here), so if you enjoyed that? Educated is for you.
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Oh, this sounds excellent! I miss reading your reviews, btw!
It’s SO GOOD you will love it! I don’t want to make a big declaration about getting back into blogging, but I kind of miss it? So maybe I’ll just be low-key about it and post when I feel like it. I’m pondering some posts for the holidays on book recs for gifting…
On my list. This book sounds exactly up my alley. It made me think of Glass Castle even before you mentioned it. Thanks!
Yup, I read your review. Yup, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yup, I missed your blog too.
Jenny @ Reading the End
Oh my God I know we already talked on Twitter about how bananas this book is, but I’ll never, ever be over it. Because yeah! It sounded nuts to start with! And then I read it and it was orders of magnitude nutser than anticipated. I’m so glad Kim put me onto it — I can always count on her for cult-type memoirs!
Note to self: harass Kim for recs of cult-type memoirs. She’s a treasure.