As it turns out, I still know how to read, but I have been reading at an (exceptionally) slower pace. Case in point Educated by Tara Westover: I loved the book, but it took me more than a month to finish reading it. To be fair, it was not the lightest read. At first, I thought it was a little similar to Hillbilly Elegy, but it is very different—the Westovers were completely different.
As I read through the first half of the book, I found myself frequently putting the book down and thinking “I can’t believe this really happened to her.” But believe it. People be crazy at times.
Here’s what I’m talking about: In Educated, Tara Westover wrote about the domestic abuse she received from her own older brother. I don’t know about you, but my brothers are protective of me. As a fellow woman, I couldn’t stand reading what Tara Westover experienced, and I’m enraged that most men get away with abusive behavior. And people have the gall to blame victim blame women as if they had it coming. For your reference, Tara Westover was raised a conservative woman, so please, she clearly did not ask for the abuse.
These were also hard to swallow: the mental health issues that were never truly addressed. Sudden mood swings, extreme violence, animal cruelty—these are clear signs of low mental health. But no one ever wants to seek help—even Tara Westover herself was in denial about her own well-being for a while. I’m glad she eventually got counseling, but mental health is so taboo, we need to change things up especially since most of us are down in the dumps because of the quarantine situation.
Of course, the book wouldn’t be called Educated if it didn’t actually talk about Tara Westover’s education. I’m so glad people saw her potential and pushed her to believe in herself. It’s interesting to see how perspectives change once you get to know more about the world. Clichéd, I know, but education opened new doors (and closed old dilapidated ones) for Tara Westover, and I hope this woman is doing well for herself right now because she has gone through so much.
As I was writing this entry, Taylor Swift’s The Man came to mind. One reason why Tara Westover had a particularly difficult experience was because she was a woman. From childhood, she was taught that women were meant to submit to men’s will. It was particularly hard for her to get past that brainwash. Taylor Swift’s rings very true, and I hope to God that people stop trying to put women in their place because they are intimidated by strong women.
Verdict: I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Although some parts were disturbing, the book was, overall, quite inspiring.