Educated

Tara Westover prefaces her memoir, Educated (2018), with a quotation from Virginia Woolf:

“The past is beautiful because one never realised an emotion at the time. It expands later, & thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”

On the opening page of her memoir, she writes about a detailed story her father told his family when Tara was almost six:

“…In my memory it’s always Mother who falls, and she has a baby in her arms.

The baby doesn’t make sense – I’m the youngest of my mother’s seven children – but like I said, none of this happened.

A year after my father told us that story, we gathered one evening to hear him read aloud from Isaiah…

“Butter and honey shall he eat,” Dad droned, low and monotone…”That he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”…”

Raby, Peter: Samuel Butler (1991):

“One day she saw me eating bread and butter and honey. Brought up as she was during the early days of Dr Butler’s married life, while he was still poor, no doubt she had been allowed bread and honey or bread and butter, but not bread and butter and honey. Such extravagance alarmed her, and she said that it was not heard of in her youth, neither among the young people whom she knew, nor yet, as far as she could gather, in any class of society.

“Why, my dear,” she said, “don’t you remember, “The Queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey”; she was not eating bread and butter and honey.”

To which I, being I suppose then about 14 or 15, replied that the Bible expressly enjoined us to eat butter with our honey.

“Butter and honey,” it said, “shalt thou eat.”

Whereon she dropped the subject.”

From the Author’s Note to Educated:

“This story is not about Mormonism. Neither is it about any other form of religious belief. In it there are many types of people, some believers, some not; some kind, some not. The author disputes any correlation, positive or negative, between the two.”

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