In Educated, Tara Westover relates her journey from childhood in a dysfunctional isolationist family, with a domineering father who saw education as the work of Satan, to studying for a PhD at Cambridge University. The first major turning point in her story was when she received help and encouragement in her studies from her brother Tyler, who had already been admitted to college. With Tyler's guidance, Tara was accepted as a student at Brigham Young University.
Tara struggled at BYU, quickly realizing how little she knew about the world and having to look up such well-known events as the Holocaust for herself. However, her Jewish history professor, Dr. Kerry, saw her potential and helped her to secure a place on a program to study at Cambridge University in England. Dr. Kerry inspired Tara and convinced her that she had the capacity to study at the highest level, at one of the world's greatest universities.
At Cambridge, Tara was supervised by Professor Jonathan Steinberg, who was fascinated by her story and spent a great deal of time helping her, filling the gaps in her knowledge, and perfecting her written work. Later, he supported her efforts to win a scholarship to continue her studies. All this took place against a background of trauma within Tara's family, where she was subject to constant abuse from her father and mother. The help of Tyler, Dr. Kerry, and Professor Steinberg was crucial in launching her academic career and allowing her to escape her upbringing.