Tara Westover

Tara Westover speaking about "Educated: A Memoir" Monday night in the Mountainlair. 

New York Times best-selling author Tara Westover spoke at the Mountainlair Monday night on the effects of education and how everyone deserves an education, regardless of background. 

Westover's book, "Educated: A Memoir," was chosen as the WVU campus read for the 2019-20 school year.

“Educated: A Memoir” details Westover’s journey from her childhood as the daughter of Mormon survivalist parents to her time at Brigham Young University, the University of Cambridge and then finally to Harvard University. Westover was 17 years old the first time she ever set foot in a classroom and taught herself enough in order to take the ACT and be admitted to BYU.

Westover took the stage Monday night, and began with a story about how her grandmother offered to take her. Westover’s grandmother wanted her to travel with them to Arizona, so Westover could finally go to school. Westover did not accept the offer. 

Monday night was filled with many stories similar to that, ranging from Westover asking what the Holocaust was to applying for a Pell Grant for the first time.

Westover was raised to believe the government was corrupt and out to get you, so when she finally applied for a Pell Grant and got the money, she was shocked. At the time, she had never seen that much money as she received $4,000 to cover to cost of two semesters of school and could not believe the money was hers. 

“The most powerful thing about money is not having to think about money,” Westover said. 

Receiving that grant was a big step for Westover and helped her accomplish many things in her career.

In the end, Westover said everyone deserves to be educated and to be aware of the fact that “loving someone does not give you the power to change them.” 

Westover had to abandon everything she knew for the life she wanted and, in the end, came out as a talented and important scholar and writer.