Recently, I intermittently finished reading "Fly Like a Bird to Your Mountain" at work. Overall, it's a good book and worth spending three or four hours to read.
I chose to read this book partly because of its popularity. How popular is it? Just take a look at the introduction on Douban:
★ A debut work by a new author, it climbed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list in its first week on the market and has remained in the top spot for 80 weeks. It has sold over a million copies in the United States and the author was named one of Time magazine's "Most Influential People" because of this book.
★ Bill Gates' number one recommended book of the year.
★ Amazon's number one editor's pick of the year.
★ Number one on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and more.
★ Voted by Goodreads readers as the best book of the year, surpassing Michelle Obama's "Becoming."
★ Winner of the Los Angeles Times' Best Biography Award.
★ Named one of the top books of the year by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Economist, O, The Oprah Magazine, National Public Radio, and more.
Tara Westover: American historian and writer. Born in the mountains of Idaho in 1986. Never attended school before the age of seventeen. Self-taught and admitted to Brigham Young University, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in literature in 2008. She then received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship and earned a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge in 2009. In 2010, she received a scholarship to study at Harvard University. In 2014, she earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge. Her debut work, "Fly Like a Bird to Your Mountain," was published in 2018. In 2019, she was named one of Time magazine's "Most Influential People" because of this book.
I have always been cautious about bestsellers, but this book has been recommended to me by friends multiple times, and the educational theme it conveys is also of interest to me, so I decided to give it a read.
Unfortunately, after finishing the book, I found that there was very little discussion about education in it, and it lacked the fresh perspectives on education that I had hoped for. This was a bit disappointing. Perhaps the author didn't want to deliberately describe her own transformational journey, but shouldn't such a fascinating experience be shown to readers? Tara, the author, went from someone who had never attended high school to being admitted to Brigham Young University, then receiving attention from professors in college, and finally "easily" applying to the University of Cambridge, where she wrote an excellent doctoral thesis...
Although her educational experience cannot be replicated, it is undoubtedly an inspiring rebirth. However, the author only briefly mentions these achievements of attending college, applying to Cambridge, and pursuing a Ph.D. For someone like me who read this book with a focus on the "education" theme, it was somewhat disappointing.
However, the parts of the book that describe her family are fascinating and thought-provoking. If there is a cost to ignorance, it is the experiences of the family described in the book. Whether it's a series of car accidents or frequent accidents at the scrapyard, they are all related to the family's ignorance. This ignorance is deeply rooted in her father's mind. Because her father has absolute power in the family, his ignorance profoundly affects every member of the family, like an indestructible and thorny cage, enveloping and hurting them.
Under the influence of her brother Tyler, the author developed a desire to go to school and gradually broke free from this cage through hard work. After seeing the wider world outside the cage, Tara wanted to go back and change it, only to find that all her efforts were in vain.
The theme of this book is education, so what is the essence of education? The book doesn't explicitly state it, but I believe, and have always believed, that education is about breaking the limitations of one's own world, seeking a bigger world, and understanding and changing oneself along the way.
After reading this book, many people have a lot of feelings about the influence of their families of origin, often attributing their misfortunes in life to their families. Such people and arguments are not uncommon in reality. However, I think that for an adult who has entered society, using their family of origin as an excuse to absolve themselves of their own incompetence is most likely foolish or lazy.