Holy toxicity. I honestly don’t know what else to say besides this book is full of toxic people, a toxic environment, toxic experiences. Just so freaking toxic.
I’m just here to tell you my thoughts. To give you a little recap. Maybe you’ll relate to how I feel about this book, maybe this will make you want to read this book..maybe you’ll see some of your life in Tara’s.
I want to start by saying I love memoirs. It’s amazing to me that some people have the strength to write about their lives. The raw truths they tell really just makes you feel like we are all fuc*ed up humans just trying to take it day by day. I started this book with the hard copy in hand. I thought I would be able to flip the pages (there’s something rewarding in flipping pages) but life just got too busy. So, I swallowed my pride and switched to audio. I really like memoirs on audio because the author typically narrates (Shout out to Jessica Simpson) so that was the biggest disappointment while listening to this book. Not that the narrator wasn’t great but the narrator wasn’t Tara Westover and that was a bummer. Anyways, I give this memoir a 10/10.
Now to the fun part aka my recap aka my discussion with myself about this book.
Do I think Tara’s parents actually loved her??? Helllll no. I don’t think her parents loved themselves or knew what love was. I think her mom wanted to love her but was sooo scared of her husband she just couldn’t. I am literally so baffled that any parent could raise their children the way the Westover’s raised their kids. I mean, why the heck would you not want to give your kids birth certificates??? Why would you want to risk your children’s life every day in the scrap yard? Also, you don’t want to give your kids an education but you’re willing to get internet and a TV? What kind of sense does that make? Also, you don’t believe in doctors??? You almost kill your family TWICE driving back to Idaho from Arizona. Your wife 100% has a brain injury and you think to yourself “oh well”???? How are you even allowed to have children. Also, how did you end up so crazy??? So you get the gist. Tara’s parents (mainly her dad) made her work in the scrap yard, kept her from getting a public school education, taught her that she didn’t need to wash her hands because she doesn’t pee on her hands, made her believe hospitals and doctors would kill her..but wait.. THERE’S MORE. They let her older brother abuse her for YEARS and then took his side???
So, let’s talk about Shawn for a moment. Aka Travis Westover. This guy was nuts from the beginning. And then he should have died twice and somehow he lived and became even nuttier & scarier. I believe his behavior is 80% his fathers fault and 20% all him. He was mean. Mean to the bone. He not only verbally abused women but also physically abused them. His sisters and his girlfriends. Any man that pulls his sister up by her hair, almost breaks her wrist, calls her a whore or shoves her head in the toilet is not a man. Any man that looks at a woman and calls her “fish eyes” is not a man. Which brings me to his girlfriends. Mainly Sadie. Where the heck were her parents and why did they allow her to date him??? My heart aches for their ego. Their self worth. Their confidence. For a man to send you to the store multiple times because you brought back the wrong candy bar EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN’T. Imagine what that would do to your confidence? Your trust in yourself. I just hope Shawns wife is safe.
Anyways, some how Tara miraculous got out of that house (thanks to her older brother, Tyler). She was able to get an actual education..an education most people can’t even dream of getting. (BYU, Cambridge, Harvard) She left her toxic up bringing.. and it really took her getting her PhD to realize that her family was toxic and she did not need them. So baffling to me. But she did it. She got away. She made a life for herself. A beautiful, bright life. She found a light inside herself and that helped her move on.
I finished this book being proud of a stranger. A person I will never meet but one I feel like I know. However, I also feel so much anger towards her brother and dad. It’s almost like this book was more centered around how shitty of humans they were than Tara’s amazing life she built for herself. If you’re in the market for a good memoir you won’t be disappointed with this one. If you want to feel sad but also proud while reading a book, then this one is for you.
Now I’m going to bed and I will dream of punching Shawn in the face over & over.
Xxx Ooo, Kailey