Shawn westover real name


  • Literary Disco
  • Wayland Student Press
  • ‘Educated’ author discusses memoir, answers questions in Utah Valley University virtual event
  • Educating, A New Memoir by the Mother of Tara Westover
  • Books Were Not Tricks, and I Was Not Feeble: On Tara Westover’s ‘Educated’
  • Shawn Westover: Tara Westover’s Brother and Abuser
  • Literary Disco

    A Wordpress. Educated: A Memoir tells the first person story of Tara Westover, a young woman raised to fundamentalist, survivalist parents of an abusive disposition with siblings a mixture of the same. The following are thoughts of my experience with reading the story.

    Tara Westover survived a harrowing upbringing and path to education, which she recounted in the book Educated: A Memoir. Educated: A Memoir begins with Tara reflecting on the mountains of Idaho where she grew up isolated from society and her extended family. Her grandmother had offered to take Tara to a school in Arizona , but she refused to leave her family. Stories about the Weavers , a family who also lived secluded from society, and their fatal encounter with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    Tara, and her siblings Tyler, Audrey really Valaree , and Richard were issued delayed birth certificates. The family isolated itself from formal religious instruction as too lenient, separated from extended family, and stockpiled food, gasoline, weaponry, and other survivalist things fearing the end times, such as they feared would come about with the feared Y2K bug. This is an image overlooking the north campus of Brigham Young University.

    Tara Westover recounts gaining admission to and attending the school in Educated: A Memoir. Some large holes in the shared knowledge formal education is largely designed to share with people were discovered by Westover to be lacking.

    Some basic tenants of hygiene were also overcome in this period. It was in the years that followed, as Tara Westover gained education through enlightened and perceptive advisors, that Tara would accept further education from Trinity College in Cambridge , England. Westover wrote Educated: A Memoir. Some truly heart wrenching familial detail is shared regarding the separation of Tara from her parents Val and LaRee and select siblings. The children are said to have divided in loyalties along the lines of those who are educated and those who were not educated and, thus, need the family business to help support themselves.

    Tara Westover wrote Educated: A Memoir. The overall narrative of Educated: A Memoir is emotionally compelling, honest in feeling, and moving in overall tone. The lessons of self, family, mental health, loyalty, and the recollections of memory are all valid tracks that can be pursued in trying to dig further into what larger understandings can be attained from the journey.

    The help of those on the outside, in addition to the benefits of what Brigham Young University was able to get started for the author. For the inspiration in overcoming and the emotional toll of the journey, I recommend Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover at 4-stars on a scale of one-to-five. Matt — Saturday, March 21, Share this:.

    Wayland Student Press

    Note: This article contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I may receive a small commission from purchases. See my disclosure policy. Is Educated Based on a True Story? Is it all true? I grew up in the nearby community of Preston, Idaho population 5, in The distance is about As you might anticipate, however, the Westovers and I know some of the same people, several of whom have reached out to me since Tara first published her book. When Educated first published I found reference to it online and read the tag about it being a true story of a Mormon from Idaho.

    You might imagine I quickly clicked the book link and ordered my copy as my interest was definitely piqued. I knew nothing more about the book. As soon as it arrived, I started to read and kept noticing similarities to my own hometown and wondered where everything was taking place. No town has a theatre with that awful name except Preston, Idaho! Suddenly, I knew the book was about my community and possibly involved people I knew; the book became more personal and I wondered, Was the abuse I was reading about possible in such a tight-knit community?

    Why would a family from my religion do such things? I had so many questions. I was dumbfounded, perplexed, sad, and shocked. And yet I believed Tara must be telling the truth—at least to some degree. Some of what she shares is fact and can be proven. She also references her journal writings. Other content, however, is he-said, she-said and is noted with asterisks and tiny print or is admittedly retold from conversations with relatives later in life.

    Is Educating Based on a True Story? It says so in huge font on the back cover and is a pronounced theme throughout the book. Why do they emphasize these points? Because they often did and still do their own thing. LaRee practiced midwifery, without any kind of license or formal schooling, for years when it was legal in the state of Idaho and other states where she worked.

    Practicing midwifery became illegal in Idaho in She was the only midwife for miles around once her mentor and trainer moved. By their own admission, she and Val had different ideas—and stuck to them. Westover family home, Clifton, Idaho. All images taken December Val was and is insistent that his beliefs and ideas are right. LaRee supports him. Her parents also had a strained relationship with her because of Val.

    As a youth, she had experienced a troublesome, manipulative relationship with another young man. And what about relationships with the neighbors? Midwifery and Homeopathic Remedies Five chapters are specifically devoted to these topics, in one form or another.

    Understandably, she wants to represent the best side of her chosen profession as a midwife. She points out that in some rural areas, midwife deliveries may be the quickest option for healthy births. While that may be true, I can say the hospital in Preston, Idaho, where my youngest brother was born, is where many local deliveries occur. I was born in the Logan Regional Hospital, which is about 45 minutes away.

    Nearby Pocatello, Idaho, has options as well to serve my hometown community. LaRee mentions several books and courses she has studied to gain her knowledge and expertise in midwifery, homeopathic remedies, foot-zone treatments, and chakra methods. Years of experience and miracles in treating two family members with severe burns using herbal remedies and pressure-point healings provide testimonials for the products she uses and sells through her now multi-million-dollar company Butterfly Expression.

    No scientific studies, however, with controlled environments, study groups, and supporting data were cited to prove successful treatments shared in the book.

    Therefore, medical opinions expressed in the book are anecdotal. She gives little credit to the medical community and medical advances. Westover family farm and property. Val also attended university. While at BYU, she began to explore the idea of home schooling while pursuing a degree in early childhood education. When she had children of her own, she first sent them to public school.

    Kindergarten was about 10 miles away, and it was hard for one of the first children to endure the bus ride. Homeschooling the Westover children was met with opposition by the local school board and the state of Idaho. Both sets of grandparents also disapproved, but LaRee persisted with her goal. Initially, her homeschooling was structured much like public schooling but evolved to focus on a more relaxed, learning-together approach.

    She writes about all the hands-on, personalized lessons she prepared for the children, some of whom have special needs, and frequent trips to the town library.

    She also encouraged older children to teach younger children p. With her busy career as a midwife and her own illnesses to tend, she was gone from the family often. Tara was a junior at BYU in So the years indicate she would have had technology in the home for her studies if the service was current and paid for. After a time, some of the Westover children chose to attend public school. Six of the seven children went on to receive more formal education, and three earned PhDs.

    Sibling recollections of main events vary. Why would you not get a birth certificate for some of your children? We have no school records because we never set foot in a classroom. Tara was finally issued a Delayed Certificate of Birth when she was nine. Even then, there was a discrepancy on her birth date that had to be corrected.

    Why did he isolate the family? These are just a few examples of how Val and his family bucked the norm for years; Educated tells of more. The Westovers may argue these are just minor details in the bigger picture of their story. They might also help to explain the bigger picture of why there were and are so many Westover problems in the community.

    Some of those problems may be legitimate; the family has an attorney they actively use. Though many of the events prior to His coming are prophesied in scripture to be frightful, there are also many beautiful things to come. We are taught to look forward, await His arrival with hope, and prepare ourselves spiritually. In physical preparation, church members are encouraged to gain a supply of food storage and necessities for emergencies. Nowhere in official church publications or talks is counsel given for the storage of ammunition and arms or the preparation of self-defense measures.

    In fact, we are counseled against it. These items can be good emergency essentials. According to Tara, her father often frightens the family with accounts of someone named Randy Weaver and his family, who are purportedly being harassed by the government.

    Some Weaver family members died in the day siege with US Marshals. Why was big brother Shawn real name Travis allowed to be such a bully to Tara? She claims her mother saw it and her sister experienced abuse as well, though this sister later retracts her story. The reader is confused, however, when Tara continues to spend time with Travis—alone.

    Yet, that is often typical behavior from a victim of abuse. They remember the good and love the person. So they go back. And then she goes on to praise him, referring to him as unselfish and deeply loyal. LaRee occasionally references their previous family businesses, which Val operated for many years. In fact, several serious injuries occur to all the siblings when machines malfunction or metal punctures a limb. As a reader, you become very concerned about what happens there.

    But LaRee avoids the topic for the most part and focuses almost exclusively on her midwife and homeopathic careers and on their current company Butterfly Expressions.

    Note the signature. The family experienced two major car accidents, resulting in serious injuries. Val battles additional injuries and health concerns. Why was medical care not sought during these critical times?

    In the first incident. Val was at the wheel. The second time, one of his sons was at the wheel. LaRee reportedly suffered from severe migraines for years and retreated for hours and days at a time to the dark basement, seeking relief from additional pain experienced in daylight hours.

    ‘Educated’ author discusses memoir, answers questions in Utah Valley University virtual event

    In the world she has revised for herself, there is no space for a man to punish women in his family for disobeying him.

    The introspection it would take to value their wayward daughter over the faithful son whose labor helps their businesses run would destabilize the core of their identities.

    Educating, A New Memoir by the Mother of Tara Westover

    Her parents interpret all acts and events as justifications for their ideology, an extreme version of confirmation bias. Their worldview can hold no other possibility.

    For her parents, there can never be uncertainty; there is only one truth, so even incidences of great suffering are interpreted to confirm that God has a plan for them. In addition, over the course of the 15 years or so this memoir covers, her parents have gone from scraping by to running the biggest business in their Idaho county—Butterfly Express Quality essential oils unnamed in the book, but easy to find on Google —and employing the four children who never went on to higher education.

    Books Were Not Tricks, and I Was Not Feeble: On Tara Westover’s ‘Educated’

    Tara Westover does not use her memoir to prove her parents wrong but to assert that her interpretation is just as valid; she just wants them to accept that her reality is different but can interact and coexist with theirs. Tara offers a personal history of a family withdrawing into extremism and vividly outlines the disbelief she experiences watching that extremism become the dominant narrative in her home community.

    She shows us how beliefs shape reality and, in turn, how ideological outliers end up centered in the American cultural consciousness. My only aversion to this story is the absence of critical facts.

    Shawn Westover: Tara Westover’s Brother and Abuser

    For example, Westover describes countless tragedies such as car and machinery accidents that left family members on the verge of death. Yet, they always managed to survive with no proper medical care. Also, I was confused about how Westover was able to go to college with no formal education. Westover also did not explain how her family could afford certain things, such as the fancy machinery in their scrapyard. The missing details made the story ambiguous and a bit disconnected.

    Overall, memoirs are an essential genre for everyone to read and study. I highly recommend this memoir to everyone.


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