Educated by Tara Westover review – escape from a Mormon fundamentalist family

A coming-of-age memoir that chronicles a young woman’s efforts to study her way out of a tough childhood in Idaho and find herself through books

We hear a lot about the edges of the US these days. Geographically, these places might be in the middle of the continent, but they are on the periphery of the country’s economic life, and often the social one too. The people who live there are desperate and pitiable, we are told, just as much as they are brutal and superstitious.

Tara Westover’s memoir is about being from just such a place and people. She was born to Mormon fundamentalist parents in Idaho, the youngest of seven. Her father Gene was the prophet of their small family, convinced the world was going to end at the stroke of the millennium. (When it did not, the author observes, the “disappointment in his features was so childlike, ...