My previous post on this book was written while I was still in the process of reading it – upon finishing it, I have a few additional comments. But before going any further, let me state unequivocally – I highly recommend this book to everyone – just buy it and read it now.
OK, here’s some thoughts off the top of my head…
- This is a compelling, stunningly well written memoir of someone who, although young, has traveled a journey unimaginable – unimaginable, that is, until she so eloquently yet viscerally captured every detail of it in this book and handed it to us. It was difficult to put down, the ultimate sign of a well written story.
- What does it mean to be educated? The answer could not possibly be explained any better than the epic tale of discovery she tells over the course of 352 pages. In short: To be educated is to be transformed.
- What a mystery humans are! There was a point early in the book where I had moments of suspicion, knowing the general arc of her story and where she ended up. I thought This doesn’t seem possible – how could someone who not only never set foot in a classroom until she was 17, end up with a PhD ten years later? A Cambridge scholar with a fellowship from Harvard no less. Really? Suspicious, that is, until she explained exactly how this transformation happened…
- Where does innate intelligence come from? How do two simple, uneducated religious zealots (her parents), one of whom runs a junkyard, both of whom deprive their children of any education (including zero “home schooling”), produce not one but 3 PhD’s out of seven children? Where does this intelligence come from – intelligence, mind you, that cannot be stopped? That will not be denied?
- Intelligence, by the way, that will ultimately transcend the mythology and superstition of religion? Intelligence that will finally, after thousands of years, rise up and defy the oppressive patriarchy of simple men? Where the fuck did this come from?
- And finally – how difficult it is for young adults to break free from their toxic and oppressive families. Even after violent abuse and neglect, for most people, it seems to be an almost impossible task. But, like a painful metamorphosis, for those strong enough, they eventually shed their former selves and become something more. They become who they were always meant to be.