Educated, Tara Westover’s memoir of growing up in a survivalist Mormon family in the mountains of Idaho, may be the most compelling book I have read in years. It has been on The New York Times’ Best Sellers list for eighty-eight weeks and has sold two million copies in the U.S..
On Tuesday night I joined an audience of 750 to watch her interviewed at Harvard where she is a visiting fellow. Questioned first by Nancy Gibbs, former Managing Editor for TIME Magazine and current Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and then by audience members, Westover was direct, and charmingly unpolished. She was self-aware and impressive as she spoke against shunning people because of their political views. Find something that you can agree upon and learn from each other was my takeaway.
Most of the audience had read her book, according to raised hands, and judging by the crowd around her after her interview, many of them brought their copy for Westover to sign.
I am very impressed by this woman who had never been in a school room until she was seventeen and now holds a doctorate in history from Cambridge University.
At age thirty-three, we haven’t heard the last of her.