Educated: A Memoir; Tara Westover
Random House Audio - 2018
We listened to this audiobook on a recent road trip and although the narration was very good, read by Julia Whalen, we just didn't love this story as much as many other readers.
For those who haven't read it, the author was one of many children born to Morman, survivalist parents in Idaho. The mother was a self-taught herbalist and midwife, the father operated a junk yard and was paranoid of the government. The children didn't even know their actual birthdates or have birth certificates for a long while. They never saw a doctor or visited a hospital even for serious burns and injuries. The father was sometimes abusive, probably the result of undiagnosed bi-polar disorder. Home schooled, the author claims she never set foot in a classroom until the age of 17 but began teaching herself math and grammar and was admitted to Brigham Young University where she studied history and later attended Cambridge and received a Phd from Harvard.
Maybe I'm just a skeptic but, I found some of this memoir quite far-fetched as to just how this wilderness girl, without formal education, was able to figure out the multi-faceted college application, entrance exam process, etc. to make the college experience a reality, especially since she wasn't given a full scholarship and her father had opposed formal education.
Although the first half of this book was quite interesting, learning about the family dynamics, overall, this was a just okay memoir for us.
Rating - 3/5 stars
Michiko Kakutani - Random House Audio - 2018
This was another non-fiction audiobook that we listened to this summer as we traveled. This is one of those books that most likely will only be read by readers who are outraged by the current political climate and the cultural forces that allow the President to continue to say the things he says, discrediting the media, conspiracy theories and proven science.
The book is short, well-organized and informative. It examines the state of the world, the phenomenon of "fake-news", racist ideologies, and the role of social media to fuel the fires that divide us. There are references to Huxley's, Brave New World and Orwell's, 1984.
Well-organized, concise and informative. We had plenty to talk about after we finished this one.
Rating - 4.5/5 stars