Educated by Tara Westover sat on my bookshelf for months before I read it. Why did it take so long? Because I was savoring the book cover.
When I see those mountains, birds, and female figure hidden in that big red pencil, I am transported to a world of hope and paranoia, triumph and loss. The book cover to Educated is clever and remarkable, so I took some time to relish in it – until I could no longer ignore the pull to read Tara’s story.
I opened her memoir, and her words lured me in:
“The gales are strong this close to the mountain, as if the peak itself is exhaling.” (page xi)
While the peak may have exhaled, I didn’t. I was sucked into Tara’s story and could not release a breath until I finished the last page.
Riveting. Empowering. Heartbreaking. Really, there are not enough words to describe the story Tara shares. On one page, your heart breaks for the treatment she endured by the men in her family. On the next page, you are uplifted by an act of kindness displayed by a church member or boyfriend.
Educated is not an easy book to read. What Tara endured from her paranoid, bipolar, abusive father; succumbing and subservient mother; and violent, angry brother is not for the faint of heart. Gushing blood, burned flesh, snapped bones, and deep bruises cover these pages as they did Tara’s body. As a victim of domestic violence, her experiences hit close to home once too many times. But I could not look away. I could not stop reading. I had to know how Tara survived. So, I kept reading until I reached the last page, and then (and only then) did I stop and breathe.
My big takeaways:
#1: The patriarchy kills.
I am not sure how Tara survived the abuse – all from the hands of men who claimed to love her.
The patriarchal structure in our country and in many of our churches fuels these scenarios. Women are supposed to be deferential, obedient, quiet, and subservient. And even if she is all these things, at the whim of a delusional man, she can be slapped, hit, thrown down stairs, and yes, killed.
Often, society does not believe a woman when she says she is abused. Often, she is afraid to leave. Often, she dies.
The patriarchy kills. It kills women, it kills their spirit, it kills their freedom, it kills their power.
#2: Women need men to believe them (and believe in them).
So often, when a woman says something is sexist, patriarchal, or wrong in some way, men will not believe her. It’s their first, knee-jerk reaction.
That’s because the patriarchal structure teaches everyone that women are not trustworthy.
However, men can move past this conditioning, and when they do, they can use their privilege to help in big and little ways. There are instances of this throughout Educated. I applaud the many men who helped Tara.
If you are a man reading this book review, please believe women. While you’re at it, support, elevate, and believe in women, too.
How Educated relates to entrepreneurs:
It doesn’t. Read it anyway.