Then I saw it on the list of book award winners from the American Library Association, who named it one of the ten adult books of 2018 that were relevant to teen readers. So I used that as my excuse to devote some time and attention to Westover’s memoir.
I’m so glad I did.
I was shocked by the story, and I guess I had expected to be shocked in some way. But the absolute neglect with which Tara was raised, the abuse she suffered, the absence of caring adults to listen to her, the extent of those shocked me. I kept thinking: is this really how life is like today?
It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.
It seems so.
My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.
After reading the book I poked around the web, looking for more information about Westover. I found Bill Gates’ blog, which I hadn’t seen before. I could identify with Gates’ comment that he likes to think he could teach himself things he wanted to learn. But compared with what Westover teaches herself, from no formal schooling to preparation for college and earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge, my self-learning has been simple and limited.
I am capable of more. We are all capable of more.
I guess that what Westover really taught me in her book is that you can truly teach yourself anything.
You can be Educated.