“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.”
I received a review copy from @netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
As we grow up our lives and expectations are based on what our parents have outlined as acceptable, a degree of what we could call normal. But after reading this memoir by Tara Westover, I realized just how wide that spectrum can be for each individual. All of us will have a different experience and perception of how normal could be defined or potentially look like based on our life experience. But what happens when your experience is nowhere near normal?
Tara Westover recounts her experience growing up in a somewhat unstructured and strict upbringing as a Mormon in Idaho. Her father, a fundamentalist survival type, distrusted the government. He thought public schooling was not necessary for his children because he felt everything they needed to know, they would learn from him, or various odd jobs and life experience.
At times this was not an easy book to read. I had to put it down many times because what Tara experienced growing up was brutal and horrific at times. Tara’s older brother Shawn was abusive and many times I wonder if he had any mental health issues that had gone undiagnosed, the family just accepting it as ‘normal’ in the context of their lifestyle.
The abuse and unintentional neglect Westover and her other siblings experienced was disturbing, shocking even. But overall, Westover listens to her brother Tyler and decides to go to college and further her education and experience outside of what she had come to know. There was so much that had happened in the world Tara never knew about (she had no idea what slavery was or the Civil Rights Movement) but there was also so much Tara didn’t know about herself.
This book was not one I could power through and read because of some of the issues I mentioned before. Overall, a book that left me Educated on the life of someone who kept fighting to learn more than her early years gave her.