Educated - A Memoir
Tara Westover
Contributed by Micheal Celestin
Chapter 12

Chapter Twelve recounts a time when Westover stayed with her brother Shawn in Albuquerque, New Mexico and learned more about how to deal with her father. Her brother Tony had taken out a loan and used it to buy a semi-trailer rig. He had to keep on the road for the majority of his life to manage to pay off the loan. Tony’s wife became ill and was put on bed rest, so he took a break from using the truck and instead attended to his wife. He called Shawn to asked if he could run the rig for two weeks while he was looking after his wife. While Shawn hated being on the road, he said that he would do it if Westover also came along with him.

It is through this experience of hauling the truck with Shawn that Westover was able to learn more about him. At one point in their conversations together, Shawn claimed that, if a person knows what he is doing, he “…can incapacitate a man with minimal effort” (Westover 104). Westover understood this as meaning that she could manage to rise above the restrictions that her father had put on her while they were living at the junkyard and break free from her childhood.


This chapter demonstrates how, sometimes, the best insights can be attained from the least expected sources. While the illness of Tony’s wife was an unfortunate event, it provided a profound learning opportunity for Westover to spend more time with her brother Shawn (Westover 107). Therefore, she was able to learn from his insights that she could fight to survive by making more money and being able to pursue a kind of life that she was interested in. This realization would be a significant step toward enabling her to rise above her controlling father.

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