Growing up in rural Idaho, Tara Westover had no birth certificate, never saw a doctor and didn’t go to school. Her parents were religious fundamentalists who stockpiled food, mistrusted the government and believed in strict gender roles for their seven children.
As a girl, Westover says, “There wasn’t ever any question about what my future would look like: I would get married when I was 17 or 18, and I would be given some corner of the farm and my husband would put a house on it and we would have kids.”
But Westover defied her family’s expectations when she enrolled in Brigham Young University at 17.“I didn’t know anything,” Westover says of her first semester. “One of my first lectures, I raised my hand and asked what the Holocaust was because I had never heard of it.”
After graduating from Brigham Young with honors, she went on to earn a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. Westover writes about her awkward transition into the mainstream and her painful struggles with her family in Educated: A Memoir.