Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir about a young girl born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho who was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. After being kept out of school for so long, she leaves her family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

#AerieREAL Role Model & Actor, Beanie Feldstein, picked this book because it completely changed the way she went throughout the world after she read it. Hear more of Beanie’s thoughts about the book, then use the discussion questions below as a guide for sharing your thoughts with your Aerie fam.

Why did you choose this book?

Beanie: I chose this book because it truly changed the way I go throughout the world. Education and academia are such a huge part of who I am. Finding myself through academia and through my own intellect, and recognizing that part of myself was such a big part of my journey. To read about her journey was so deeply inspirational and reminded me why I feel so deeply lucky to have gotten the education that I did.

What stuck with you after you finished?

Beanie: The one thing that stuck with me most from “Educated” is the power we all have over our own stories.

What do you hope readers will take away from the story?

Beanie: I believe that education is such a powerful tool. We should all try to help others get it and feel really thankful if we got to have it ourselves.

Did you relate to any of the characters in the book? Tell us why!

Beanie: Because this book is a memoir there are no characters, only Tara Westorer and her actual family, friends, etc. However, the person I felt most connected to was definitely Tara herself. “Educated” is her story from beginning to end, specific and harrowing and yet wholly universal in feeling and matters of mind.

As you’re reading Educated or if you’ve already finished it, we want to know what you think! Use these discussion questions as a guide and share your thoughts in the comments section.

  1. What kind of freedom did Tara get from her education?
  2. The book is called Educated, but not all of the lessons that Tara learns are in the classroom. What other important learning moments did she have?
  3. Which friends do you think had the biggest impact on Tara and why?
  4. Tara was just 30 when she wrote this book. What feels different reading a memoir written by someone so young?

Now it’s your turn! Comment below and share your thoughts.


  1. Deanna

    This book was not only a moving story about a girl who fights for education, but it also sheds a light on abuse and manipulation as well as consequences of untreated mental illness. This is a very important part of the book and one that resonated the most as Tara’s fight for education was not only driven by her academic thirst, but it also allowed her to escape mistreatment, misogyny, and dangerous conspiracies at home. That was the real freedom.

    1. Aerie

      What a great summary! Thanks for sharing, Deanna!

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