I had heard of ‘Educated’ before it was longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize but hadn’t considered Tara Westover’s widely acclaimed memoir of her childhood growing up in a Mormon fundamentalist family in rural Idaho as a possible contender. Although not immediately obvious from the title or basic premise of the book, there are numerous connections to the main thematic criteria of the prize related to health. Isolated from mainstream society by radical survivalist parents, Westover and her six older siblings didn’t attend school and the family never saw doctors – even serious incidents like car accidents and third degree burns were treated at home with her mother’s herbal tinctures rather than at hospital. She didn’t receive a birth certificate until she was nine years old and spent most of her time working at her father’s junkyard, later studying independently at home. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Idaho
Educated by Tara Westover
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All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
I really enjoyed Ruth Ozeki’s third novel A Tale for the Time Being which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and her debut My Year of Meats. Almost two years later, I finally got round to reading her second novel ‘All Over Creation’. Japanese-American Yumi Fuller (or Yummy as most of the characters call her) returns to Liberty Falls, Idaho for the first time since she ran away from home as a fourteen-year-old in 1974. Her elderly parents run a business selling seeds having retired from potato farming several years ago and a group of eco-activists who call themselves the Seeds of Revolution have descended on their home. Meanwhile, her former teacher Elliot Rhodes is now working as a public relations manager for a company producing genetically modified Nu-Life potatoes which the Fuller’s neighbours are using on their farm. Continue reading
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