Cathartic biography and visceral fiction chosen by Alex Jones, Amanda Abbington, Graham Norton and JJ Chalmers

BBC Two's book club Between the Covers is back, and Sara Cox's celebrity guests are sharing more of their favourite reads. This week, take a new perspective on education, enter the world of freediving, and expand your horizons with two very different novels.

Feb 23, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: (Between the Covers Book Club).

Alex Jones - Educated by Tara Westover

The cover says: Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate until she was nine years old. At sixteen, to escape her father's radicalism and a violent older brother, Tara left home. What followed was a struggle for self-invention, a journey that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

She writes this looking back at her life. Has she gone too far to ever go back to her family? Alex Jones

Alex says: “This is a book that has stayed with me. I read it about six years ago and it's a memoir. Tara Westover was born to a family in Idaho, in the mountains in America. She wasn't registered as a person, basically her dad didn't register her, and they had no medical records. They lived this life where they were survivalists, so they'd make these packs for the end of the world.

Tara wanted an education. And it's her journey, educating herself firstly and then going on to uni. She goes to Harvard, ends up in Cambridge as a historian. And she writes this looking back at her life. When she gets to Cambridge [the question is] has she gone too far to ever go back to her family?

So Gene, the dad, he’s charismatic but he does run this scrap-yard and she as a child, and the brothers, had to work there. They have burns, they are crushed by all this metal. But they don't see doctors and instead the mother comes up with all these homeopathic remedies - which she then makes a lot of money from. So the family make a lot of money, and then Tara goes down her path of getting her education, and they just become further and further apart. The distance grows between them. It’s amazing.”

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