In Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, she tells the stories that have influenced her life decisions and made her the person that she is today. Westover and her family lived in a small house in Idaho with her parents and her six older siblings. Her mother, LaRee, was a midwife and a herbalist that was in charge of taking care of the house. Tara’s father, Val, worked in a junkyard, was a doomsday prepper, and a bipolar person. Her father believed that the government was trying to influence the children through the way they teach them at school. With that, he decided to pull all of his children out of school and have them work for him or their mother.
When Tyler, Tara’s brother, comes home for a visit he decided to talk to Tara about attending college. The first thought Tara had was how her father would react and that Tyler was even crazy to talk to her about going to college. Tara already thought she had a future in mind. She wanted to be like her mother; midwife and herbalist. Tyler started to tell her about Brigham Young University. He started to tell her about how they accept homeschoolers and Tyler said, “[j]ust pass the ACT. [o]ne lousy test” (Westover, 120).
In chapter 14, Tara Westover starts to realize that she does not want the same future as her mother. Tara wants to do more with her life other than live on the farm with her husband and learn to work with herbs. Robert taught Tara how to use the computer so she decides to put some research into BYU as Tyler told her to. Tyler told Tara to start studying as soon as she could get her hands on some books. Tara followed what Tyler said, “[t]he next day, I drove forty miles to the nearest bookstore and bought a glossy ACT Study Guide” (Westover, 124). She got home and turned straight to the math section which she had no idea how to do it. Tara asked her mother for help and they were both confused so, “[t]he next day I drove the same forty miles, eighty round-trip, and returned home with a large algebra textbook” (Westover, 124). Tara and her mother took a day to sit down to learn together and it took them three hours to attempt to solve one problem.
Tara soon realized while watching her father work on blueprints that he knew how to solve the problems that she was having trouble on. The problems she was having the most particular problems with were trigonometry because she did not see the science behind them. Tara’s father was slid a paper from Tara with a problem on it and solved it easily but when asked how he did it he told them, “[i] don’t know how to solve it,’ he said, handing me the paper. ‘[a]ll I know is, that’s the answer’” (Westover, 126). Tyler soon invited Tara up to their Aunt Debbie’s house. While Tara was their Tyler was teaching her how to solve the problems that she did not know how to complete. Tara had to leave unexpectedly due to a crisis in her family back at home.
In conclusion, if Tara never took Tyler’s advice to attend Brigman Young University she may have just ended up with the same future as her mother. Tara worked her butt off to learn everything she needed to pass that ACT test and all her courses in college too. She bettered herself as a person and made her own future for herself instead of following her family’s decisions. Her parents may have affected her past but Tara controls her own future. Tara Westover is now an author that is very successful with what she does and is telling her story to the world.
Westover, Tara. Educated: a Memoir. Random House, 2018.