Educated by Tara Westover

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Tara Westover already numbers among her fans former US President Barack Obama, who called the writer to discuss her book.  He praised Westover’s first book as a “remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind”. The last point is significant – whilst Educated can be seen as a clarion call for education, Westover’s motivation (perhaps surprisingly) does not seem to be sheer rage. 

The first half of the book deals with Westover’s childhood as the youngest of five children in a radical survivalist Mormon family and is full of warm memories.

 

Another Planet by Tracey Thorn

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Tracey Thorn, the singer-songwriter and one half of the band Everything But the Girl, now feels like she lives a conventional middle-class life in north London, with her three children and partner of over 30 years. Even this apparently settled life doesn’t stop her father commenting: “Oh, Tracey. She’s from another planet.” We shouldn’t be surprised. After reading Thorn’s first memoir Bedsit Disco Queen, he said “I never knew Tracey was so into music”—this about a woman who has sold over nine million records.

Another Planet, Thorn’s second memoir, is full of such moments of low-key comedy but there is also a serious side to the estrangement that she felt from her parents. She is candid about how the “distance that had grown up between me and my parents in my teens never quite closed up.”