A friend recommended this book so enthusiastically that I purchased it at once. Then I saw a discussion about it on FB and mentioned that I'd just gotten it.
"Well," said someone, "don't start it unless you have a lot of free time. It's unputdownable."
That proved to be the case as I read late into the night.
Westover's unusual upbringing in Idaho, in a very conservative, survivalist, anti-government, anti-traditional medicine, anti-school, Mormon family and her burning desire to be educated that led eventually to Oxford and Harvard are two parts of this compelling narrative.
But the overarching story is Westover's learning about herself -- and realizing that the abusive treatment one of her brothers doles out is, indeed, abuse. Abuse that her parents have overlooked and denied. Her coming to terms with this and her family's mix of reactions to her complaints about the abusive brother kept me going into the wee hours.
And the next day, I went online to find out more. Evidently the parents have responded to the book with a lawyer's statement that the book should be taken 'with a grain of salt.'
And such is the nature of gas-lighting that I found myself wondering briefly if it should.
It's a fascinating read. And there's a rather interesting secondary story -- that of Westover's mother who, in the beginning of the book is an amateur herbalist, concoct-er of homeopathic remedies, and reluctant midwife, completely subservient to her husband. By the end of the book, she has defied her husband in many ways (all but the most important one of siding with her daughter, saved his life, and built a thriving and lucrative herbal business that now employs all of the family except for Tara and the few family members who side with her.
As I was warned -- don't pick up this book unless you have a free block of time ahead.