40 days
Tara Westover
date starteddate finisheddurationlocations
2022-05-092022-06-1841Tallinn, Helsinki, Glasgow, New York


Extraordinary book recommended by a friend. It’s a first book that I was able to actually finish since the big war in Ukraine started in February 2022. The book started very difficult for me. There were many scary little stories of physical accidents. I expected thing to go more and more terrible (physically) for the author during her childhood. In my personal life I’m more scared of physical damage caused by other people. Somehow, I feel like I can withstand psychological. It’s tough, but it always feels that as long as I’m physically healthy I can work on psychological and mental state. So reading the book I was worried that more and more physical abuse would follow. This worrying made reading of this book a bit stressful. But to be honest, I don’t want to reflect on the topic of family or psychological challenges here. Just read a book, and my own reflections I will document sometime later. What surprised me in this book was how simultaneously similar and foreign Tara’s background was to my own. She grew up in the rural religious America. Which was million miles away from the America of New York City or Los Angeles. The same was true for me growing up in rural Ukraine. London, NYC - those places were so far and unattainable to me as a child. But what surprised me was the definition of poorness. As per her description she grow up poor and without much money - which is true when she compared herself to her peers. But when I was reading this descriptions I still cannot believe how much money she and her family had. They had many cars and could afford many things. Even Tara herself started working part time when she was 16 and she has hundreds of dollars for herself. She went to college with 1200 dollars when she was 17(or some similar age) - for her it was very little amount of money. But for me having 1200 when I was 17 was impossible dream. I had no tools to earn so much money back then. I think those differences were the things that I was thinking in the background. How many things are not absolute but relative. Like, tara compared herself to her peers and she was poor and unlucky. And I was reading her account and keep thinking - materially she was pretty well off.