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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Educated" by Tara Westover

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Educated" by Tara Westover

  1. Family Dynamics:

    • How does Tara Westover depict her family dynamics, particularly the relationships with her parents and siblings? What impact do her family's beliefs and lifestyle have on her upbringing and personal development?
  2. Education and Identity:

    • Explore the theme of education and its significance in Tara Westover's life. How does her pursuit of education challenge her preconceived notions about herself, her family, and the world around her? How does education shape her identity and worldview?
  3. Religion and Belief Systems:

    • Discuss the role of religion and belief systems in "Educated." How do Tara's family's religious beliefs influence their lifestyle, decisions, and interactions with the outside world? How does Tara's relationship with religion evolve over the course of the memoir?
  4. Memory and Trauma:

    • Reflect on the theme of memory and trauma in the book. How do Tara's experiences growing up in a dysfunctional and abusive environment impact her memory and perception of events? How does she grapple with the reliability of her own memories?
  5. Resilience and Self-Discovery:

    • Consider Tara Westover's journey of resilience and self-discovery. How does she navigate the challenges of her upbringing and find the courage to pursue an education despite the obstacles she faces? How does her journey of self-discovery shape her understanding of herself and her place in the world?
  6. Family Secrets and Dysfunction:

    • Analyze the theme of family secrets and dysfunction in "Educated." How do secrets and hidden truths within Tara's family contribute to the dysfunction and trauma she experiences? How does Tara navigate the complexities of family loyalty and the desire for truth and autonomy?
  7. Social Isolation and Community:

    • Explore the theme of social isolation and community in the memoir. How does Tara's upbringing in a remote and insular environment shape her understanding of community and belonging? How does she navigate the transition from isolation to engaging with broader social networks?
  8. Education and Empowerment:

    • Reflect on the transformative power of education in Tara Westover's life. How does education empower Tara to challenge her circumstances, pursue her passions, and ultimately redefine her own path in life?
  9. Identity and Self-Definition:

    • Consider how Tara Westover grapples with issues of identity and self-definition throughout the memoir. How does she reconcile the different aspects of her identity, including her family background, education, and personal values?
  10. Personal Growth and Healing:

    • Discuss Tara Westover's journey of personal growth and healing. How does she confront and overcome the traumas of her past? What role does forgiveness, acceptance, and self-compassion play in her healing process?

Tara Westover is an American author known for her memoir "Educated," which details her journey from growing up in a strict, survivalist family in rural Idaho to eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University. Here's a brief biography of Tara Westover:

Early Life: Tara Westover was born in September 1986 in Clifton, Idaho, the youngest of seven children in a Mormon family. Her parents were devoutly religious and held extreme beliefs about self-sufficiency and distrust of government and modern institutions.

Upbringing: Westover's upbringing was marked by isolation, limited access to formal education, and a lack of exposure to mainstream society. She was not enrolled in school as a child and instead spent her time working in her father's junkyard and preparing for the End of Days, as her family believed in preparing for the apocalypse.

Education: Despite her lack of formal schooling, Westover began educating herself and eventually gained admission to Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah. At BYU, she thrived academically despite initial challenges and went on to pursue further education at Harvard University and Cambridge University, where she earned a PhD in history.

Career: Following her education, Tara Westover pursued a career as a writer and educator. Her memoir, "Educated," was published in 2018 and became a critically acclaimed bestseller, earning widespread praise for its powerful storytelling and insight into Westover's remarkable journey.

Impact: "Educated" has had a significant impact on readers around the world, sparking discussions about education, family, identity, and resilience. The memoir has been translated into numerous languages and received numerous awards and honors.

Personal Life: Tara Westover's personal life remains relatively private beyond what is shared in her memoir. She continues to write and speak publicly about her experiences and the themes explored in "Educated," including issues related to education, mental health, and family dynamics.

Tara Westover's journey from a sheltered upbringing in rural Idaho to academic success and literary acclaim is a testament to her resilience, determination, and the power of education to transform lives. Her memoir, "Educated," continues to inspire readers and spark conversations about the pursuit of knowledge, overcoming adversity, and the complexities of family and identity.


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