Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.
If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/
This is the final post for author Chuck Jackson and I have selected a book review that he wrote for Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover
Educated by Tara Westover Reviewed by Chuck Jackson
“If [J. D.] Vance’s memoir offered street-heroin-grade drama, [Tara] Westover’s is carfentanil, the stuff that tranquilizes elephants. The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing. . . . By the end, Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassable exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review
When a book makes the New York Times Best Seller, I take notice. I don’t have the opportunity to read all best sellers, but they are on my ‘to be read list.’ If you are an author or blogger, you know reading is one of the best ways to enhance your writing. Experts tell us to read books within our genre. I’ve read and reviewed several memoirs and Educated ranks high on my list.
All three of my books are memoirs, yet I list one of them as fiction based on real-life events. My memoir What Did I Do?, is the account of the abuse I received as a child. There were so many times while reading Educated, I could relate to Tara Westover’s emotional state because of similar abuse. Her feeling of helplessness and confusion as to the reality of the world around her was familiar feelings for me.
I was shocked that in the ’90s children in America could be raised in a societary vacuum. How did children not have some birth records? How did a family go unchallenged for keeping their children from schools? How did their family and neighbors allow the abuse without intervention?
Unfortunately, child abuse proliferates today as it did when I was a child. My family, neighbors, and teachers turned their heads to my abuse and refused to intervene. It is not difficult for me to understand Tara Westover’s narcissistic father and how he controlled his family. I found it difficult to comprehend how someone known in their community could be as anti-establishment and radically religious as the Westover family and not bring intervention from the authorities. How did Tara’s brothers sustain the severity of injury without medical treatment and not have law enforcement investigate?
I remember my struggles of guilt when I left home. I remember the confusion of what was reality and how my parents explained it was their duty to teach me right from wrong. They called it ‘tough love,’ and it was to prepare me for adulthood.
Tara Westover in Educated felt sinful when she turned against the teachings of her father. She felt her faith challenged if she sought medical attention. She felt insecure and unworthy of success when she began her separation from the family and initiated her education. I wanted to scream at her when individuals offered assistance, and she felt it was wrong to accept it.
The story in itself was captivating, but the writing style and expertise of Ms. Westover was an enlightenment for me. Her ability to draw the reader into the emotional reality of her world kept me turning pages. I kept recognizing the proficiency of using the senses ‘to show and not tell’ with her writing. However, she does have a doctorate from Cambridge.
When I read a book that touches the reality of my life, it becomes memorable. Tara’s challenge to overcome the low self-esteem and self-conscientiousness was a familiar feeling. Her determination to survive and break free from the oppressive family was exhilarating.
If you read books for entertainment, then Educated won’t be an enjoyable read. However, if true human interest stories with emotional highs and lows enthrall you, don’t miss reading this book. It has to be a top shelf memoir of our times.
© Chuck Jackson 2018
About Chuck Jackson
Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.
Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.
Books by Chuck Jackson
One of the reviews for Guilt- My Companion
I happen to know Chuck Jackson, and I consider him a fine man and a wonderful friend. How he has turned out so well with the traumas and betrayals he has endured is a miracle. How he could even write this book is amazing. It is a page turner and reminds me of the book, UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand. It is difficult to imagine that a boy, growing into manhood could even survive what Chuck endured. Given the times we live in with abuse and harassment so pervasive, Guilt–My Companion, is a book of encouragement for those who are going through terrible times with a dysfunctional family, workplace abuse or especially for those who have been told they were worthless and won’t ever amount to anything. It is an account of suffering, struggle, hopelessness that turns out to be a story of a tough life with a beautiful outcome. Inspirational!
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG
Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson
Connect to Chuck Jackson
My thanks to Chuck for inviting me to share some posts from his archives. I hope you will head over and explore more yourself.. thanks Sally.