Late last year I messaged my friend Tara on Facebook because she asked people for crock pot recipes and discussing food is the last vestige of that platform in my life.

Tara and I met in college. We were both history majors and she was the smartest person I knew so I latched myself onto her in multiple classes and made her study with me. In our last year we worked on a journal together. She was the editor-in-chief and I was something very not editor-in-chief. These were good memories. And then we graduated.

After college we stayed sort-of-in-touch through social media, chatting very occasionally. She went on, as expected, to travel the world and earn advanced degrees at places like freaking Cambridge. I saw her post pictures of the cool things she was up to from time to time and every time she did I nodded at my computer screen in polite pride that someone I knew and liked was doing snobby things without seeming to become snobby.

We hadn't chatted on social media for a few years when I sent her the crock pot recipe, and I couldn't remember seeing much posting from her in recent months and so I didn't know what she was up to these days.

She responded and thanked me for sending it. We Facebook chatted for a little while, catching up. She told me she was still living in England. I told her I was a big fat homo now and how Skylar keeps breaking my stuff but I have to accept it because I already peaked and he's settling for me so this is my best shot at a happy life.

We talked about work. She said that she had just finished writing her first book and she was going to publish it soon. I was all like, "omg that's like soooooo awesome sometimes I write things 2 lol rofl!"

Ok, I didn't say exactly that. But looking back, and knowing how this story ends, I may as well have said that.

We chatted a bit more and then I left for work. On the way to work I nodded in polite pride that someone I knew and liked had actually written a book. "Good for her," I said to myself, thinking of all the people, present company included, who would like to write a book but can never seem to finish one.

"I hope she's able to sell some copies and feel proud of what she wrote," I said, supportively, and like the phenomenally good person that I obviously am.

Sometime later, a couple of weeks, I think, Tara messaged me on Facebook to ask me a question about publishing contracts. I looked at one and gave her my thoughts. She thanked me. I nodded in polite pride again at the reminder that not only did this person I knew and quite liked write a book, but she found someone to publish it, enough that they even had a contract for it.

Then some time passed. We may have chatted again. I don't remember. Or maybe I just saw her post some information about the book. However it happened, I discovered a way to pre-order the book on Amazon, and so, in my polite pride, I did just that.

"I'll show my support," I said to myself as I clicked on the purchase button.

Sometime later, the book came.


The book is Educated, by Tara Westover.

You may have seen it in every single bookstore in the world this year.

You may have also seen it on the top of the New York Times Bestseller list for eleventy weeks in a row.

Or maybe you saw BARACK FREAKING OBAMA write about how it's one of his favorite books of the year.

Or maybe you've seen Tara brilliantly do about 5 trillion interviews on every show on TV all year long. INCLUDING WITH FREAKING GAYLE.

All of the attention is deserved. I devoured this book, and it is phenomenal. Truly.

It's about Tara's experiences growing up with survivalist parents in the mountains in Idaho, and then miraculously getting herself to college and beyond despite family opposition and having never freaking gone to school or experiencing a single minute of homeschooling.

The story is really captivating. Heartbreaking. Fascinating. Infuriating. Healing.

But beyond that, it is just really great writing from a really great person.

So basically I just want you all to go read it and then tell me what you think about it.

[All of the above said in polite pride.]

This is us at graduation. I know. So hawt. #willtheyorwontthey

~It Just Gets Stranger