Tuesday, 14 May 2019

It's not about Mormonism

Educated "This story is not about Mormonism," states Tara Westover in the Introduction to her memoir, Educated. As such, you won't find much in the book that is critical of the author's fundamentalist upbringing. Plenty of bad things happen, often due to wilful negligence, but no blame is attributed.

So what is the story about? If it's not about how religious beliefs can twist logic, maybe it's about how toxic patriarchy within families prevents women from living their lives as they choose. But again, there's no criticism of this in the book. The fact that wives and daughters are in danger of being abused seems to raise no emotion. Who will look out for Tara's sister-in-law and her children? Does anyone care? The message seems to be that it's up to the woman to sort herself out, just as Tara did. It's no-one else's problem.

Educated then, is about just one woman's desire to learn, and the conflict that that desire produced, both within herself and her family. It's about taking individual responsibility for your life. All very inspiring, but for this reader, ultimately self-centred and unsatisfying.

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