Who’ll Play the Lead in the Movie?
The most memorable excerpt from Tara Westover’s harrowing memoir of growing up, off-the-grid, in rural Idaho isn’t from the book.
It appears in The New York Times’ book review:
“Educated” is, among other things, a catalog of job-site horrors: fingers lost, legs gashed, bodies horribly burned. No pointy-headed bureaucrat could make a stronger case for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration than do the unregulated Westover’s with their many calamities. Making matters worse is [the father’s] refusal to allow any of the injured and wounded (himself included) to seek medical attention beyond his wife’s tinctures ” “God’s pharmacy” ” a refusal that also greatly exacerbates the effects of two terrible car accidents. “God and his angels are here, working right alongside us,” he tells his daughter. “They won’t let you get hurt.”
–Alec MacGillis, “Review: “Educated,’ by Tara Westover“; The New York Times (3/1/2018).
As MacGillis notes, Westover’s account serves as a sort of western bookend to “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, who not so coincidentally offers an approving plug on the book jacket cover.
As I read Westover’s gripping story, all I could think of (besides the graphic imagery) was the ideal actress to play her in the movie: a young Reese Witherspoon (the book covers Westover’s life from her late teens to mid-20’s; Witherspoon is now 42).