The captivating memoir of a woman who grew up isolated from society, abused by her family, and despite zero childhood education, she broke the restraints of her father’s twisted worldly views and earned her Ph.D. at Cambridge and Harvard University.
Born on a rural farm in Idaho to strict Mormon parents, Tara Westover spent her childhood and teen years working in her father’s junkyard and helping her mother create herbal medicine while attending a small, devout church. Tara’s parents were skeptical of public education, medical institutions, and the government’s role in the lives of its citizens. This skepticism led to their self-sufficient lifestyle, homeschooling their children and even tending to serious burns and injuries with herbal remedies. Plagued with physical and emotional violence, Tara’s household became a space filled with turmoil and brutality. As Tara grew older, she gained a curiosity about the world beyond her family and set out to receive higher education.
Going against her father’s wishes, Tara attended Brigham Young University, a Mormon college in Utah, and eventually went on to study at Cambridge University and complete a fellowship at Harvard. As Tara continued her education, her home life became more abusive and violent, eventually forcing her to make the difficult decision to choose between her family and education.