Educated - A Memoir
Tara Westover
Contributed by Micheal Celestin
Chapter 18

In this chapter, Westover discusses some distance that grew between her and her roommates, Mary and Shannon, as a result of differences in background. Though there was no moment of conflict, her roommates felt that Westover was too devout for their liking. They rarely talked to her, except for when they needed to remind her to do her chores. Westover, however, was not keen on observing cleanliness. She thought, “so what if there were rotting peaches in the fridge and dirty dishes in the sink?” (Westover 160). Considering the environment she grew up in, she was not used to high levels of cleanliness. This co-habitation, therefore, was a big challenge for her to overcome as she got accustomed to her roommates’ standards. While she was accustomed to only using soap when she was showering, and at most showered twice a week, she discovered that Shannon and Mary washed their hands with soap all the time.


New experiences for Westover are to be expected, especially, considering the kind of upbringing she had. Living at the junkyard had not made her sensitive to cleanliness (Westover 163). The fact that she did not shower regularly and failed to observe thorough hygiene created some distance between her and her roommates. This livid situation, however, provided her with a chance to learn cleanliness, make friends, and better understand the ways of the city.

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