Wow! This book is claustrophobic, stunning and full of distorted truths. It is beautifully written and even though it is based ‘somewhere else’ the imagery Mackintosh creates paints the most wonderful pictures and brings the whole place alive in your mind.
What is even more crucial to this story is the relationships between the characters. Between siblings, between parents, between lovers, between friends, they are all complicated, raw and full of sharp observations from Mackintosh.
The language in this story is incredible and moving. Every word was placed with consideration, builds into the narrative as a whole and creates a feeling of unease. Even when falling in love a character says ‘My heart swells like a broken hand to twice its size, the same sort of tenderness.’ Even love in this world has an undercurrent of potential danger. This unease also swells throughout the story through the clever use of language.
Although Mackintosh is writing about an unknown dystopia; our own world, our treatment of each other, the taught behaviour and performative gender are all reflected back at us, offering a fascinating commentary on our own world and our own actions within it.
I can see why some people are not sure about this book, it is impossible to place and throws you straight into its dystopia with no explanation, but personally, I think it works brilliantly as it builds into the confusion that the three sisters feel.
This book will certainly be added to my favourite reads of 2018.
What have you been reading recently? Let me know and let’s have a chat about it in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for new great reads!
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin for sending me a Kindle edition of The Water Cure in exchange for an honest review.
Educated is the incredible memoir of Tara Westover who, after being raised on the edge (in so many ways) seeks to educate herself (also, in so many ways). Westover seeks education in the literal sense – she has no formal education growing up. In a worldly sense – her parents are extreme fundamentalists who cut their children off from interaction with ‘outsiders’. And in a personal sense – how does a young woman fit into a world she has no sense of?
At the beginning of the memoir, I found it very hard to place this book, or put it into any sort of time period, but I think that was the point. I want to bring order to the book because my childhood and life is relatively ordered. Westover’s was not. She cannot put a timeframe on her life because she didn’t even know her own birthdate and only had a rough idea of her age. Westover very cleverly brings this feeling of displacement of time into the text. Geographically, I found this novel memoir very hard to place, but again, that’s the point. It’s based somewhere out on the fringes of society that you don’t normally see, that is easily ignored.
One of my favourite things about this book is that it steers away from having a breakthrough moment, where everything after that point is fine. Even once she is ‘educated’ the emotional struggle and need to find her place is in a continual flux. At points, you think she has left her physically violent and mentally toxic family behind, only for her to go back to them. Like life, her journey ebbs and flows ad the trauma of her childhood echo’s through into adulthood.
I found this book completely engaging and I highly recommend it.
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for allowing me to review Educated by Tara Westover.