There are times, few and far between, when you come across a book which absorbs you, possesses you to the point where you’re reading faster than your brain can process. Words become a blur and soon you’re skimming over lines and paragraphs, reading them but not really registering any of it. It isn’t because the story is uninteresting but because the sole objective of your existence for those few hours is to continue peering into a window that’s opened up – into someone else’s life, in a world much removed from yours – and you’re scared that it might close soon.
Educated is one such memoir. It is the story of a girl – Tara Westover – who grows up in a survivalist, fundamentalist, abusive family without any kind of formal education, eventually earning her Ph.D. at Cambridge. Her writing is honest, without aggrandizement, and manages to capture her struggle to reconcile the two worlds that she eventually comes to know – one that her father built for her where everything was a conspiracy and the family had to prepare for the End of Days which never came, and the other where she falls in love with art and history.
Her relationship with her family – a father suffering from undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder, an abusive sociopath as a brother, and a delusional and manipulative mother – in the backdrop of an extremely rigorous branch of Mormonism continues to define her world and her actions through her adult years. It has a rating of 4.47 on Goodreads and has to be one of the best books I’ve read this year.