October 2, 2018

I want to say “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Here, read it yourself (Amazon link, audio version is fantastic).

But is it all true? Westover comes from the most insanely deprived and dangerous childhood and ends up with a PhD in history from Cambridge University, but is her history of herself 100% true? It's such an extreme tale! Here's some well-articulated analysis:

110 comments:

mccullough said...

An autobiography is true. A memoir is bullshit.

Achilles said...

She sold a book to a bunch of idiots.

Smart.

Achilles said...

So she is describing white privilege right?

Ann Althouse said...

She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up. And look what happened with that "Million Little Pieces" guy who thought he could punch up the drama in his memoir. It was a famous disaster. So I'm not buying the idea that memoirs are just another form of fiction based on your own life.

Rocketeer said...

How dare you even question it. #BelieveAllWomen

Achilles said...

Being born female in Afghanistan would be insurmountable.

She has other siblings with PhD's.

Family members are calling her a liar.

I can guess her political leanings with 99% certainty.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
She has a reputation as a historian,


This is laughable on it's face.

Ann Althouse said...

"So she is describing white privilege right?

She grows up with crazy parents who don't believe in getting professional medical care and who force them to work in a junkyard, as children, with metal and machinery, and horrific injuries are endured without medical treatment. They're not sent to school and they aren't home schooled, just worked and told a crazy religious version of what's out there beyond the homestead. They're prepping for end times, canning fruit and burying armaments.

But there was lots of adventure in the great outdoors and no school, so quite privileged, especially when you see the part where she figures out how to get into college (BYU) without ever having gone to school. Just get a high score on the ACT and lie and say you were homeschooled.

mccullough said...

She is totally free to bullshit. She’s a female academic trashing Mormons. She can say whatever she wants and the Academic Left will love her for it.

Her brother has a PhD in Engineerring from Purdue. That’s a hell of a homeschool education.

If she were a Muslim Apostate then she would be trashed.

Fernandistein said...

"My schooling did me a great deal of harm and no good whatever; it was simply dragging a child's soul through the dirt." - Shaw

mccullough said...

I liked this Tall Tale better when it was called Tarzan.

She is so full of shit.

mccullough said...

The guy doing the review is great. Those clips in the corner from Back to School and Home Alone are perfect.

When he says the author is “telling her truth” then you know what a fucking joke he thinks it is.

Achilles said...

Imagine that. Westover grew up easily in the .1%.

Her father owned a very large company.

Hardly hicks.

Expat(ish) said...

My wife (Ph.D. Sociology) read it and liked it but thought it seemed fishy.

I read it (fast) and thought she was a great writer but that the story was probably 50% BS.

I haven't thought about it sense. Though I still think sometimes about Hillbilly Elegy and $20 in My Pocket. Both less well written books.

-XC

PS - I am 3/3 on the dang robot verifier.

Richard Dolan said...

Nice counterpoint to the CBFord story -- it's her story but is it all true? The reviewer in the video clip suggests that truth is a relative notion. Lots of that going around today.

AustinRoth said...

That sums up today - facts are malleable to ensure they fit the narrative.

Like Ford, something was not right in her childhood, but assuredly not in the way she describes. It has an element of “truthiness”, and nothing more.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

*She has a reputation as a historian,*

What is your point?
Historians don't lie!!??
Winning is when lie get accepted.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
"So she is describing white privilege right?

She grows up with crazy parents who don't believe in getting professional medical care and who force them to work in a junkyard, as children, with metal and machinery, and horrific injuries are endured without medical treatment. They're not sent to school and they aren't home schooled, just worked and told a crazy religious version of what's out there beyond the homestead. They're prepping for end times, canning fruit and burying armaments

Go read about her "poor" "uneducated" family a little bit.

Or choose to be ignorant.

You choose to be ignorant with Blasey Ford.

But if you haven't noticed ignorance is no longer an excuse. Tara Westover is just another lying bitch tearing down good people with her lies.

Her mother and father educated her so poorly she was able to go out like her brother and crush the ACT and get full ride scholarships to college.

We are starting to notice a pattern with Female PhD's lately.

DanTheMan said...

>>“telling her truth”

In "my" truth, I'm playing first base for the Yankees.

Achilles said...

“The premise is that they started teaching the older kids, but by the time they got to her they neglected her schooling,” Atkin said.

Tara is one of seven children, three of whom have gone on to earn their a Ph.D.: Tara, Tyler and Richard, said Atkin.

“That’s 42 percent of their children. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a public school with those statistics,” he said.



The parents did a really terrible job educating their kids. And they are MOROMON! Training their kids to be able to survive? Be self sufficient and tough? TRASH THEM!

This woman is trash. She is smearing her parents who loved her and did a great job raising their kids to make a quick buck off a bunch of liberal shitheads willing to buy into lies. This is the lowest kind of personal attack.

Do you realize how shitty and gross it looks to have a pampered, coddled, silver spoon fed woman sit up in her comfy chair sneer down on people not like her?

These parents have accomplished more than 95% of PhD's in the world.

This is grotesque.

Ken B said...

I, Rigoberta Menchu ?

David53 said...

"Just get a high score on the ACT and lie and say you were homeschooled."

For some reason that sentence reminded me of Blumenthal's “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.”

Jupiter said...

So, do we have to believe men who say they are women? I guess we do, right?

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

"And look what happened with that "Million Little Pieces" guy who thought he could punch up the drama in his memoir. It was a famous disaster. So I'm not buying the idea that memoirs are just another form of fiction based on your own life"

Wow. You're a great blogger, Althouse, and, no doubt, a more than competent professor but thank God you stayed out of the courtroom.

Henry said...

when you see the part where she figures out how to get into college (BYU) without ever having gone to school. Just get a high score on the ACT and lie and say you were homeschooled.

Worked for me.

Henry said...

Except for the homeschooling part.

robother said...

Be interesting to see a show of hands from her siblings on who considers this a factual account of their childhood. At least we'd be able to verify the severed fingers part.

chuck said...

> She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up.

#BelieveAllHistorians, well, except for the celebrated left wing frauds. Is the author left wing by any chance?

Henry said...

That Angela's Ashes guy waited until the witnesses died. Now that's the way to right a memoir.

The Crack Emcee said...

Never could've happened.

Didn't I tell you guys about working in Utah and a white older Mormon couple telling me, if I get snatched back into slavery in America, to call them because they "are going to be pissed"?

I sincerely think the rest of you have no idea what's going on in this nation.

DanTheMan said...

>>Wow. You're a great blogger, Althouse, and, no doubt, a more than competent professor but thank God you stayed out of the courtroom.

"Raise your right hand: Do you swear to tell your truth, your whole truth, and nothing but your truth?"

Achilles said...

This goes beyond being a liar.

Tara Westover lies to hurt other people for personal gain. Other people who gave her everything they could.

At least Blasey Ford wasn't a betrayer. She never even knew Kavanaugh at least.

Absolutely disgusting people.

Jay Elink said...

> She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up.

*****************

Well, that didn't stop historian Michael Bellesiles, a purported historian who wrote a thoroughly discredited book about American gun culture.

"Bellesiles, then a professor at Emory University, used fabricated research to argue that during the early period of US history, guns were uncommon during peacetime and that a culture of gun ownership did not arise until the mid-nineteenth century."
--wikipedia

Henry said...

Frank McCourt. I made up the part about no witnesses. He actually had siblings who also lived a long time. And then there's this:

His mom went to reading and interrupted, shouting: "It's all a pack of lies!"

Geoff Matthews said...

"Didn't I tell you guys about working in Utah and a white older Mormon couple telling me, if I get snatched back into slavery in America, to call them because they "are going to be pissed"?"

What are things that never happened?

Henry said...

Wasn't today going to be about men being angry?

I guess they are.

gilbar said...

when you see the part where she figures out how to get into college (BYU) without ever having gone to school. Just get a high score on the ACT and lie and say you were homeschooled

Steve Martins 1 step plan for Becoming RICH!
1st get a million dollars

yep, i'll bet crushing the ACT would be about enough (see step one)

chuck said...

My mothers came from a sharecropper family with eleven children, two of whom died in childhood (pneumonia, diabetes). Of the remaining nine, four went to college.

MadisonMan said...

What would Elizabeth Warren say? You didn't build that. Where 'that' is your new life.

Michael K said...

I prefer the story of Alvin Kernan, who grew up on a small ranch in Montana, joined the Navy at 17, was an enlisted man on the Enterprise on Pearl Harbor Day, was aboard the Wasp when it was sunk in the battle of The Coral Sea and then, after the war, went to college.

He ended up as Dean of the Graduate School at Princeton.

That's a biography !

Kernan was a leading expert in English Renaissance drama. He worked at Princeton for 15 years after serving as a long-time faculty member and administrator at Yale University. He was a decorated World War II veteran who also wrote about his wartime experiences.

At Princeton, Kernan taught “Literature and Society” and many courses on Shakespeare. His books include “The Cankered Muse, Satire of the English Renaissance,” “The Plot of Satire,” “Samuel Johnson and Print,” “The Death of Literature,” “Shakespeare, the King’s Playwright,” “The Playwright as Magician: Shakespeare’s Image of the Poet in the English Public Theater,” and a memoir of his early life and naval service, “Crossing the Line: A Bluejacket’s Odyssey in World War II.”


He died this year at age 94. His books about the battle of Midway are the best there are.

Of course, he would no longer be welcome at Yale.

Molly said...

My (now dead) dad used to tell a hilarious story about a period in his life when he and his then wife would meet up with Ruth and Marty Ginzburg at wife-swapping parties in the NY area. It may not have been a true story but it was too good (and funny) to check.

Openidname said...

"She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up.

"Well, that didn't stop historian Michael Bellesiles . . . ."

Or Nancy MacLean.

FIDO said...

Her parents didn't send her to Middlebury and yet she did okay?

That is Imbelievable (sic). Everyone knows that if you don't go to Middlebury, you can never succeed in life.

So I understand your doubt, Dr. Althouse.

Rick said...

She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up.

So did Michael Bellesiles and does Nancy MacLean but it didn't stop them from making things up.

Rick said...

Openidname said...

I looked for these references before I wrote. Oh well.

FIDO said...

She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up


Tell that to Michael Bellesiles, Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo.


The Academy is full of agenda driven frauds.


chuck said...

OTOH, my father's father was a fundamentalist preacher who taught himself Greek and Latin, didn't believe in doctors, and preached in Appalachia. The family was poor, my father gained 30 lbs when he joined the Army in 1941 because he finally had enough to eat. But he was well educated along with his siblings, the oldest child in the family graduated from high school at 14. But I would have to say that my father struggled throughout his life to recover from his upbringing, it was a long, hard, road.

Martha said...

Mentioned in the video is another great memoir—PRIESTDADDY by Patricia Lockwood. Her memoir was named one of the 10 best books of 2017 by The New York Times. Also apropos is Lockwood’s famous prose poem “Rape Joke” which went viral after published in THE AWL in July 2013. The poet, raped at age 19, uses her trauma to make a broader commentary on rape culture.

DanTheMan said...

Martha, what is "rape culture"? Is there also "burglary culture" or "arson culture"?

FIDO said...

Smithsonian did an article about how fully half of all psychology papers can't be replicated.

Historians, IMO, are even squishier. I recall the 70's, where after Stonewall, suddenly every agenda driven historian was putting out that essentially every single 'Great Man' was in fact gay...no matter how many children he had.

One doesn't get published if they aren't controversial. What are they going to write? "Yes. the past 200 years of scholarship about 'X' is still perfectly valid"?


Not going to happen. Lately, Global Warming, the new buzzword, has caused EVERYTHING.

So...

You can't take these people too seriously, or assume any baseline honesty. Because their first skill is to lie to themselves. It makes lying to everyone else much easier.

Howard said...

Perfect fuel for Crack: Moroni Cult, essential oil cult business
Butterfly Express

Magic anti-PMS potion.

Martha said...

FYI: Rape Joke, Patricia Lockwood
The Awl July 25, 2013


https://www.theawl.com/2013/07/patricia-lockwood-rape-joke/

DanTheMan said...

>>One doesn't get published if they aren't controversial.

As we were told in journalism class many years ago: "Prisoners didn't riot today" is not a story that anybody will read.

sparrow said...

She's writing in support of liberal biases against religious and rural people. As a rule people tend to hold stories that confirm their own beliefs to a lower standard than those that do not. She's obviously very bright and writes well so that helps her also. I find her story implausible on it's face, but my own bias runs against her. There's reason to be skeptical, certainly but not much evidence either way.

Martha said...

DanTheMan asked:
Martha, what is "rape culture"? Is there also "burglary culture" or "arson culture"?

Yes! but I have not read any poems on those topics recently.

Yancey Ward said...

I read the book last Spring. It is a very good story, true or not. My instincts tell me it is very embellished. I had read the brother's review somewhere after finishing it- my memory is this was in late May, but I don't remember doing so on Amazon- probably someone posted it in a discussion thread of a review.

The brother had basically taken issue with how his sister had characterized some of the events, but he was careful to point out that he was older and so wasn't a witness to a lot of what she described from her own experience, though he did obliquely critique some of her assumptions about his own history with his family. In addition, I think he had given his father far more credit for encouraging his educational goals- indeed, I remember him saying explicitly that he wouldn't have taking a scholarship to graduate studies at Purdue without his father's encouragement.

The brother also did describe that his father likely suffered from paranoia- was anti-government, and feared agents of either the US government or the UN would come confiscate guns. I remember he also made a point to write the father didn't have high capacity weapons, during the time he lived at home.

So after reading the brother's review, I more less decided my initial reaction was right- highy embellished, but still interesting. She does write really well.

CJinPA said...

"Rape culture" is an awful term.

DanTheMan said...

Many worry about living in a Police state.
Me, I worry about living in a Fire Department state, where the Secret Fireman knock on your door at 3AM, and spray water over all your possessions...

DanTheMan said...

>>Yes! but I have not read any poems on those topics recently.

OK, but could you supply some examples anyway?
Hint: "Somewhere in suburban Maryland, in the early to mid 80's, at a house I can't remember" has already been used.

The Crack Emcee said...

Howard said...

"Perfect fuel for Crack: Moroni Cult, essential oil cult business
Butterfly Express

Magic anti-PMS potion."

Yeah, I bathe in this shit. If you scroll down to the videos on the page, you'll see I'm putting this one on The Coal Train.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

You lost the post's title.

CJinPA said...

Oprah Winfrey chose "A Million Little Pieces" for her influential Book of the Month Club. When questions were raised, she defended it 'maybe not entirely true, but tells an important story.' When the publicity became really bad, she roasted him.

Unknown said...

how to get into college (BYU) without ever having gone to school. Just get a high score on the ACT and lie and say you were homeschooled.

Reminds me of a story Al Stewart tells in concert about how he ended up broke in NYC sleeping in an increasingly dubious woman's apartment until he was finally able to get in touch with Paul Simon:

So my agent told me the UK market was nothing and that I needed to go to the US and become famous there.

OK, I said, how do I do that?

'Well, first you to America'

OK, and then?

'Then become famous!'

Somehow I had thought there was more to it...

Yancey Ward said...

"She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up."

Good grief! Only a really naïve person could believe such an assertion. Sometimes the liars and fiction writers get caught, but you would have to be fool to think that more than a fraction of them are ever really "caught". Sure, it is dangerous to make up things about, let's say Operation Market Garden, which have hundreds or thousands of witnesses and documents, but a family story? Gullible much?

robother said...

Between this memoir and uneducated Mormon farmer Farnsworth's invention of television, maybe there is something to Sailer's ironic notion that Idaho has "Magic Dirt."

Ann Althouse said...

Wow. Some of you are really badly misreading me. I didn’t say I believe whatever’s in the form of a memoir. I said the current norm is that memoirs are supposed to be true and that there are consequences for lying. That doesn’t mean no one lies or that I are credulous, just that I am demanding truth.

I would modify that to say the writer is understood to be relying on her own memory, and that has its natural weaknesses.

The Crack Emcee said...

CJinPA said...

"Oprah Winfrey chose "A Million Little Pieces" for her influential Book of the Month Club. When questions were raised, she defended it 'maybe not entirely true, but tells an important story.' When the publicity became really bad, she roasted him."

And then Frey's publisher overheard Winfrey, telling Frey, it's "only business."

Kirk Parker said...

"She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up."

WTF?

Go ahead and try pulling the other one, Althouse... but really we are not that gullible.

I was going to say #MichaelBellisiles but so many of you beat me to it... ;-)


DanTheMan,

Well, in my local big(ger) city anyway, in "that" part of town there is definitely "alley culture".

Openidname said...

"DanTheMan said...

"Martha, what is 'rape culture'? Is there also 'burglary culture' or 'arson culture'?"

I don't think these terms are completely meaningless. France has an arson culture -- it has become common, if you feel ticked off, to express yourself by setting fire to some stranger's Citröen. And the UK suddenly finds itself confronted by a new acid-throwing culture.

The problem with the term "rape culture" is that it is used to imply that *every* male in the culture wants to rape (or at least feels cultural pressure to rape). Which is simply ridiculous -- just as not every Gaul has an inclination to set fire to things and not every Briton has a proclivity to throw acid.

Mike Sylwester said...

This blog article's title has disappeared.

FIDO said...


Wow. Some of you are really badly misreading me. I didn’t say I believe whatever’s in the form of a memoir.


No. We are noting that your defense of this woman, who may be lying, is that 'she is an Academic who writes well, ergo she is unlikely to be a liar.' Now you are qualifying that she might be mistaken.

Several of us are noting that you are offering this woman a benefit of the doubt that you don't seem as inclined to offer a female Republican lawyer or anyone testifying against Ford's memory.

But good on you insisting on the truth, however lopsided your credulity.

Would you offer her less benefit of the doubt if you didn't enjoy the book as much?

Bob/Kristy said...

I post rarely, but have been around here long enough to know that the password is "secret server". I've read the book; I'm Mormon and went to BYU; and the book was recommended to me by a friend who grew up in the same town as the Westovers and knows some of Tara's cousins.

Interestingly, my friend didn't dispute the story at all; in fact, she recommended the book to me because it captured some of her feelings leaving that same town for the broader world. She told me that although she went to school in town, (and went to college) she often feels "uneducated", like she is ignorant of things that most other people are familiar with. Tara's culture-shock resonated with her in a way she found unsettling.

For me, the fact that 3 children from that family managed to get PhD's is not an obstacle to believing her story. Obviously the kids are highly intelligent; and Tara states in the book that the older children were almost raised in a different family, when things were more functional. I think she focused so much on the things she didn't learn at home (like the holocaust), that she overlooked the value of the things her parents made available to her. For instance, she showed an early interest in reading difficult religious books and analyzing them- that's great training for a future academic.

Her time at BYU is the part of her story I have the most familiarity with, and while I might have a quibble or two, I can't say anything rang false. BYU is a big place, and her depiction of it was plausible and reasonable to me.

Henry said...

@FIDO -- If you use quote marks, you should actually quote something.

Paraphrasing in your own opinion is not what quote marks are for.

CJinPA said...

This blog article's title has disappeared.

It had a type "every read/ever read." Maybe in the fixing the whole thing was nuked.

Yancey Ward said...

Ann, ok, fair enough, but that was badly written- it implies you trust her account because there are consequences- lying about family history isn't really one of those situations. You have to commit the sort of fraud like Bellesiles to suffer any real consequences, and yet he is probably quite happy, in the end, with his book royalties. Even today, he still has his defenders on the Left, and I consider him to have suffered the most extreme consequences of any historian caught perpetuating a fraud. Others get far, far less condemnation.

CJinPA said...

"This blog article's title has disappeared."

It had a type "every read/ever read." Maybe in the fixing the whole thing was nuked.

That's "typo." Has anyone ever made a typo writing the word typo? I think we can close the internet now.

FIDO said...

Fair enough.

"She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up."

How is she not free to lie? Is she unable to because 'she's a historian'? Or that Academics won't accept liars in their midst?

If so, that shows a particular lack of attention to the academy, particularly of late.

The drawbacks of tenure: you can write any damn nonsense you want and not be fired.

Yancey Ward said...

In any case, I loved Yoon's review style- I have put him in the bookmarks.

FIDO said...

Mattress Girl was caught in very questionable statements. Has her degree been withdrawn? Or did she 'start a conversation'?

That is an interesting question: how many of these fraudulent 'hate crimes' done by Leftists, ever get expelled? Or were they defended by the Professors of (enter identity group here) about 'starting that damn conversation'.


That conversation should start "I am a horrible untrustworthy liar and should be expelled."

But Mattress Girl is still lauded.

Henry said...

How is she not free to lie?

Interestingly enough, the answer is in the comments: Michael Bellesiles. A historian that lied and lost his reputation.

The point is not that a historian or memoirist can't get things wrong. The point is if they make things up they will get criticized and that criticism may be quite damaging to their status and career.

Henry said...

I should say they "may" get criticized.

Or they may get away with it.

CJinPA said...

But Mattress Girl is still lauded.

The student whose life she damaged sued Columbia and settled. Feminists called it a "nuisance lawsuit." If you follow KC Johnson on Twitter he posts findings from these kinds of cases all the time. It is amazing.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
Wow. Some of you are really badly misreading me. I didn’t say I believe whatever’s in the form of a memoir. I said the current norm is that memoirs are supposed to be true and that there are consequences for lying. That doesn’t mean no one lies or that I are credulous, just that I am demanding truth.

I would modify that to say the writer is understood to be relying on her own memory, and that has its natural weaknesses.


It is more than that.

Who makes shit up to bash their family? I could see if they abused her or mistreated her.

But that is clearly not the case. This woman got a first class education and training from her parents just like all of the kids in that family did.

If you want to see real backwards poverty and mistreatment go to Afghanistan.

And to pad a narrative in a book just for a few shekels?

She is awful.

Yancey Ward said...

Interestingly enough, the answer is in the comments: Michael Bellesiles. A historian that lied and lost his reputation."

Bellesiles is a special case- he lied about existing documents- the documentation demonstrated to a degree that was difficult for anyone to deny that Bellesiles' book was a fraud. Most memoirs aren't going to be document based in this way- the most you will get are they said/they said controversies, or disagreements about what documentation actually means.

Show me another "historian" who has been accused of making up stuff that has suffered anything near as much as Bellesiles? I can't think of a single one. Bellesiles is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself.

Henry said...

@Yancy -- Good point. The biggest reputation hits usually happen because of plagiarism, not invention.

I think that most historians don't make up facts. They get things wrong. They filter and massage and interpret and the more blatant they are about it, the more criticism they get. The more criticism, the more the career impact. It would take a big statistical study to prove this, of course.

traditionalguy said...

Loved it too. The characters all ring true to me. The tale is therapy too. Humans that respond to a challenge and prevailed will draw an audience.

Rick said...

Henry said...Interestingly enough, the answer is in the comments: Michael Bellesiles. A historian that lied and lost his reputation.

He only lost his reputation because his work was 100% provably fraudulent. Even then the academic establishment was forced by outsiders to rescind the prizes they awarded because his fraud was politically useful. It takes a special kind of stupid to invent the work without even ensuring the records you cite exist.

It's bizarre left wingers credit the academic establishment for something they fought tooth and nail.

Fernandistein said...

Next you'll be telling me that some gangling "self educated" dude raised in a one-room log cabin could become a famous president of a big fancy country. As if.

But I really don't see any reason to doubt the basics of her story. A bright and curious person can teach themselves better 'n' faster than a "one size fits all including the semi-retards" school could do. It's not like southern Idaho is in the middle of the ocean.

And The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money

To clarify: It's the case against education system, not education.

Sebastian said...

"She has a reputation as a historian, so I don't think she's free to make things up."

I don't mean to pile on, but I don't understand this statement.

Reputation is no defense to falsehood, if shown. "So" doesn't follow: reputation as historian does not entail anything in particular about creative license in a personal memoir. Historians have been quite free to "make things up," anyway, even if not on the scale of Bellisles. And there are no professional consequences to misreporting one's own childhood, so even lying historians are in fact quite "free."

Or try:

"He has a reputation as a serious jurist who sticks closely to the evidence, so I don't think he's free to make things up."

Sebastian said...

By the way, I have no opinion on the actual veracity of the story.

If true, it is anecdotal evidence for a dangerous hypothesis: that intelligence, not schooling or family circumstances, drives outcomes.

traditionalguy said...

Hint: History is a story. The setting is the stage on which human souls strut their stuff. The fiction is great as the half fiction and the quarter fiction the writer sets people he has known acting their noble selves.

Fernandistein said...

If true, it is anecdotal evidence for a dangerous hypothesis: that intelligence, not schooling or family circumstances, drives outcomes.

Not dangerous and not really, but replace "intelligence" by "genes" and it's why I think the story is quite plausible:

"The high heritability of educational achievement reflects many genetically influenced traits, not just intelligence"

The Tyrian said...

I haven't read the book, but I know the author's mother casually, in passing. She seems to me to be bright, kind, and truthfully, rather strange. But she is nothing like the picture that has been painted here. Therefore I believe Tara has embellished a great deal, perhaps in order to fit the biases of the people she now fits in with.

MadisonMan said...

660+ holds for the book at the library!

Anonymous said...

From what little I see in the way of feedback, this book first and foremost deserves the bullshit tag. I will bet that there are 100 people living in Cambridge, or Madison, or Burlington VT who hold to as wacky beliefs as she claims her parents do. If nothing else the author should be grateful for the genes she received from those parents she thinks are nuts. Her next written work will be how Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her while she was on her mission from BYU.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

They're not sent to school and they aren't home schooled

Then how did she crush the ACT? How did her siblings also crush the ACT and get doctorates? I'm not saying she had an ideal childhood. People who believe in healing oils tend to be a little off. But she got the knowledge needed to do incredibly well on the ACT from somewhere.

Temujin said...

I don't know why, but the first thing that popped into my head was, 'another Rigoberta Menchu?'. I guess I do know why I thought that. A couple of decades of people twisting the truth to make themselves look like heroes, stars, saviors. I have not read her story (though I've heard of her story).

I think she's gotten her stardom. Wait until you read my story. It's about a Mongolian who almost took over the world.

DanTheMan said...

>> re: "Rape Culture"
>>I don't think these terms are completely meaningless.

I think these terms are completely meaningless.

Since even those who use them can't/won't define them, the reader is left to fill in his/her own guess as to what is meant.

It is not intended to advance a position, or communicate clearly, but rather an effort to paper over a massive gap in one's thinking...


Gabriel said...

Ron Winkelheimer:But she got the knowledge needed to do incredibly well on the ACT from somewhere.

If you read widely (not just class assignments, you read for fun, and not just comics) and you can cope with algebra, you will crush the ACT. Or the SAT.

Neither of these primarily measures knowledge.

buwaya said...

It sounds like a wonderful childhood.
Not what seems conventional these days, but our times are not optimal.

And then there is the matter of genetics. It’s 90% of outcomes after all. The parents were eccentric but intelligent.

Freeman Hunt said...

Three doctorates among their kids with no schooling at all? If so, that's quite an indictment of our educational system. Close the schools, and send the children into the streets! We'll save loads!

FIDO said...

Three doctorates among their kids with no schooling at all? If so, that's quite an indictment of our educational system. Close the schools, and send the children into the streets! We'll save loads!


If we do that, who will educate them into Feminism and Marxism? Then they might actually have to guide their own thoughts to the best ways to live for themselves.

Barbara said...

Another riveting story in this vein is The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.(Everyone in my family remembers things a little bit differently so what's the big deal?)

themightypuck said...

Buried the lede. Standardized tests work.

The Crack Emcee said...

I used to be amazed at the difference, between the realities of living in France and what Americans understood about it, but then I moved to Utah and really got my mind blown.

That mountain range around Salt Lake hides multitudes of secrets,....

The Crack Emcee said...

And I don't think most wanna know what's happening in there.

There's no other explanation for it.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

An intelligent child surviving and growing in a tops turvy world is a common theme because it has happened to so many people in the 20th Century. The instant best seller of the 1930s was about a young girl surviving in the South when Sherman's army came to town. Its author got the story from her Aunts who had lived it. A favorite of mine is also the story of and by child survivor of the Japanese, and it was also made into a movie called The Empire of the Sun.

Henry said...

themightypuck said...
Buried the lede. Standardized tests work.

LOL.

Henry said...

Tristram Shandy did not actually remember his own conception.