Educated, Tara Westlover’s autobiographical account, teaches us that we can always improve ourselves and that doing so through education is the best way.
Education has transformed countless lives around the world and is key to improving the quality of people’s lives.
Tara Westlover, author of her autobiographical novel Educated is an example.
Born on “someday” September 1986, neither Tara nor her six siblings had a birth certificate, medical record or academic history. Her father, a religious fanatic farmer, and her mother, a healer, completely denied them their schooling or any other contact with modern society out of paranoid fear of government control.
Guided by her curiosity and driven to flee the abuse of one of her older brothers, the total indifference of her parents to such a situation and the often dangerous child labour conditions to which she was accustomed, Tara decides to leave her father’s farm at the age of 16 to seek her own school and academic preparation. Years later, on her own, she earned a doctorate from the University of Cambridge.
Tara Westlover’s particular situation is not an isolated case in the global educational environment. Often, the universal right to education is almost a privilege based on economic, geographical, cultural or family factors that should not condition academic development.
Not for anything more than 121 million children and adolescents in the world have had to leave school or worse, have never had the opportunity to attend one.
However, just as the particular problems of Tara’s story resonate, so does her message of overcoming them. Just as she achieved academic success, stories of growth of all kinds around education are told in one way or another in every home in every nation.
For Tara Westlover education, more than an opportunity to improve, meant an escape and the hope of being able to know beyond a closed world without opportunities.
Educated reminds us of a specific feature of human behaviour: We as people have the possibility to improve, to continue learning, to change our particular situation if we wish, regardless of the barriers we face.
Tara, on the one hand, had to choose her path by breaking ties definitively with half of her family, including her parents, having to endure and overcome years of academic failure every time she was in class. While the sacrifices can be great, the important thing is to know yourself well enough to know what is really worthwhile.
Tara Westlover’s story may seem like another story of overcoming like many others, but it is a portrait of the transformative power of education itself.
“The first version of you is not your only version,” Tara stated in some of her interviews. In Educated, we understand that finding the best version of ourselves will always be easier done in the classroom.