“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” – 4/5 stars!
Attention! This book contains: Mormonism, rolled up sleeves, birth certificates, roommates, ballet slippers, heads in toilets, car accidents, mountains, newborn babies, exams, herbs, baby deliveries, a good education and a lot of physical abuse.
Where do I even start with this book? This was a very hard book to rate. To be honest I’m still not sure about how I feel after reading it, but I’m still going to share some of my thoughts anyways.
First of all, I think she is clearly a very strong, inspiring person. I honestly can’t even imagine what it was like to be on her shoes not only growing up, but also knowing that her family situation didn’t change even after she left the house. I’m very impressed that she was able to go to college and get really good grades in most subjects! The fact that she got so far with her education knowing that she never went to school, didn’t have her family’s support and didn’t know a lot of simple things that for most of us is common knowledge, sounds so crazy to me! The sad part is that I think she probably still doesn’t know a lot of simple/common things to this day, but my hope is that she is keeping her efforts to learn new things and improve herself. I’m very glad she decided to write a book about her life.
At some points in the book I got really frustrated. I honestly felt her pain and I felt tired for her. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have to deal with such a dysfunctional, irrational family that controls your life and brainwashes you by using religion as an excuse. My family is not perfect by far, but this was another level of crazy. I hated her brother. Like, true hatred. Well, to be fair I also didn’t like her dad, but at least he didn’t abuse her and her siblings physically like her brother did. But what bothered me the most was how she kept giving excuses for her brother’s behaviour and she tried to laugh it off in public so that people wouldn’t understand what was really going on. Not only that, but she kept on “accepting” the abuse and being controlled by her dad and brother. I just hated how in one second they were good to her and then the next second treated her like garbage and called her names. Well, don’t even get me started on name calling… what her brother called her really disgusted me. Especially when she found out that one of the words had a very powerful meaning. And I know they probably have mental issues and I know she didn’t know/couldn’t do any better at that time, but it still broke my heart and I wish I was there to defend her when nobody else did. Which is a great segway to introduce the other amazing family member: the mom. I have to admit, the mother was one of the family members that confused me the most. You would think that a mother would defend her child no matter what… but she just watched and did nothing. Sometimes she was on Tara’s side and the next minute she was on her husband’s side, agreeing with whatever he said about Tara. I just… ugh, I was so frustrated that everyone around her was such a bad influence. Fortunately for her, she had a great brother that helped her and encouraged her to study and tell her that there was a world outside of the mountains. Tyler was the ultimate MVP – and probably the only other sane person in that family…. just saying.
I also wonder how her family reacted when she told them she decided to write a book about her life. Because she basically put her family members – especially her dad and brother – on blast, and I would love to know what happened next and what were their thoughts since the book became so popular.
One thing I like to add is that I wish she narrated her own book. Don’t get me wrong, the narrator did a great job telling her story, but since this is such a personal book I think she should have narrated her herself. I know it would be even more powerful, without a doubt.
I completely understand why this book won a Goodreads award and I highly recommend it too. Damn… there really are some effed up families out there. Trigger warning for physical and mental abuse!