<Educated> is a book highly recommended by many people and top-rated on the book list. When I started it, I hardly continue. It’s all about the chores and the dirty work in the junkyard, homeschooling, superstition and ignorance. I was looking forward to reading about how Tara, the author successfully self-discipline to get herself educated. I think it will be a book to guild people to read more, study more. Instead, it’s about self-salvation, how education free Tara from her stubborn family.
You could call the selfhood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it education.
The Education from family
The first education comes from parents, before nursery and kindergarten, parents are the people who teach us how to eat nicely without spreading the food all over, who teach us to get rid of the nappy, who teach us to say the first word etc. Meanwhile, one person’s behavior mostly comes from what the parents taught and how the parents showed.
Throughout the whole book, Tara grew up with her family, in the end, to let go of the past. Though her family doesn’t agree to have public education, I can see somehow the parents supported her. When Tara left America and was ready for further education in England, the father said,
“If you’re in America,” he’d whispered, “we can come for you. Wherever you are. I’ve got a thousand gallons of fuel buried in the field. I can fetch you when The End comes, bring you home, make you safe. But if you cross the ocean.”
I finally realize Tara’s father is always the father, who deeply wants to protect his own children. All the reckless and rudeness both come from ignorance. Tara’s father didn’t just say it out, instead, he whispered, he’s proud that she’s leaving, his love is so deep that he can do whatever it takes to protect Tara, but he’s also shy to express his feeling.
It reminds me of my dad, he never said anything sweet, but if I am in need, he must be the one who’s at my back. He didn’t like I married a westerner, due to the difference in culture, education and habits. Most importantly, my dad can no longer protect me when I am outside of China, over the ocean, it’s beyond his reach. My dad is a well-educated person even he didn’t get a Master or whatsoever diploma. I believed he taught me well and gave me all the best he could.
Back to Tara’s story, she shared how the brother abused her and how the parents ignored this fact. And she also said that the parents tried to turn all the family against her. Probably this didn’t happen to me, that’s why I still find it hard to understand it. However, if you think the environment is toxic for you, maybe it’s time to leave, why takes forever?
You know someone is going to put you in danger, or you know someplace might be dangerous for you, will you go? It is the instinct for all species to obtain the advantages and avoid the disadvantages, and that’s why what we called “natural selection” is actually based on the choice of the species. I think this is a biological instinct, just as an unconditioned reflex. That’s why Tara’s brother Tyler first left the family and built his own life, it’s always difficult to be the first, but he did it and also asked Tara to follow her heart. I just would wish Tara would’ve asked for more help from Tyler, so her life would be easier.
You are not fool’s gold, shining only under a particular light. Whoever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that’s who you always were. It was always in you. Not in Cambridge. In you, you are gold. And returning to BYU, or even to that mountain you came from, will not change who you are. It may change how others see you, it may even change how you see yourself—but that is the illusions and It always was.
This is a great compliment, and we have the same Chinese saying, “Gold, it always shines.” Meaning no matter what sort of circumstance, if you are the gold, you will shine. Well, as far as I know, Tara is a real gold, just a bit study then enter a university, and then scholarship, and it proves her as a genius is that the professor in Cambridge said her paper is one of the best in 30 years. After all, genius doesn’t come from schooling.
However, every beautiful butterfly has to struggle through metamorphosis, from ignorance to transcendence. You have to teach yourself how to survive, how to study, and how to keep things up. Self-education is through the whole life, it makes you take control of yourself, and drives you to a better you or sometimes a worse you.
The most powerful determinant of who you are is inside you.
Do I like this book? The writing is smooth and beautiful, but sorry I am not that into it.