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CITL Book Club: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover: Home

Tara Westover on Education

Tara Westover discusses her bestselling memoir Educated and the transformative power of education in conversation with Nick Anderson of The Washington Post at ACE2019, The American Council of Education's 101st Annual Meeting.

A few Quotes

  1. "The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand." (p. 62)
  2. "I loved the sensation of conformity.  Learning to dance felt like learning to belong." (p.78)
  3. "College was irrelevant to me.  I knew how my life would play out: when I was eighteen or nineteen, I would get married" (p.123)
  4. "But my father had taught me that there are not two reasonable opinions to be had on any subject: there is Truth and there are Lies." (p. 132)
  5. "We had lent our voices to a discourse whose sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others - because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward" (p.180)
  6. "She understood that my missteps came from ignorance, not intention, and she corrected me gently but frankly" (p.184)
  7. "I could not see a counselor.  To see one would be to ask for help, and I believed myself invincible." (p.191)
  8. "Curiosity is a luxury reserved for the financially secure" (p. 203)
  9. "By the end of the semester the world felt big, and it was hard to imagine returning to the mountain" (p. 228)
  10. "I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create." (p. 304)


Educated: A Memoir By Tara Westover

Image result for educated tara westover

Meeting Dates

Book Group Meeting Dates - first Tuesdays at Noon

  • February 4 - Part 1
  • March 3 - Part 2
  • April 7 - Part 3

Feel free to bring a lunch!  

Discussion Questions

  1. Educated begins with an epigraph from John Dewey "I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing."  Why do you think Westover chose to begin her memoir with this quote?
  2. Why is it significant that in one of her first classes Westover did not recognize the word "holocaust" and had little knowledge of civil rights issues?  How does her awareness evolve throughout the book?
  3. What objections does Westover's father, Gene, have about formalized education? Have you encountered this point of view from your students, neighbors, acquaintances?  How has reading Educated changed your reaction to this point of view? 
  4. Much of Westover's education occurs in formal settings, but not all.  What other important moments of education did she experience?  What university settings are important to an education beyond the classroom? 
  5. Westover writes, "My life was narrated for me by others.  Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute.  It had never occured to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs,"  What is the significance of this realization?  Do you see this reality in our students?  
  6. Ultimately, what type of freedom does education provide?    
  7. How does Westover's journey in Educated exemplify "Discover Your Purpose"?  
  8. The book ends with Westover realizing that she is "a changed person, a new self."  She writes "You could call this selfhood many things.  Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal.  I call it an education."  What do you make of these final lines?