If You Liked x, Read y: Coming-of-Age Memoirs

If Tara Westover’s memoir Educated gripped you with its story of growing up in a survivalist family and forging a path of reinvention, be sure to check out Carly Butler’s new memoir Apocalypse Child: Doomsday and the Search for Identity at the End of the World (Caitlin Press).


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While both memoirs delve into the struggles of growing up in isolated, high-control environments and explore themes of resilience, and self-discovery, they do so through different lenses.

Educated follows Tara Westover’s journey from a sheltered upbringing in rural Idaho to pursuing education against all odds. Raised in a survivalist family, Westover’s narrative highlights her quest for knowledge and the challenges she faced in breaking away from her family’s beliefs. It grapples with themes of familial loyalty, the power of education, and the struggle for self-invention.

Butler’s Apocalypse Child unfolds in an Evangelical cult-like community deep in Northern BC. Her ’90s childhood was anything but typical, shaped by her mother’s belief that the world would end in the year 2000. Unlike in Westover’s story, Butler’s memoir intertwines her journey with issues of identity, including her Mexican-Indigenous heritage and queer identity. Her moving memoir highlights what it means to truly grow up, exchanging isolation and conspiracy theories for community and knowledge. 

While Westover’s story ends with her educational achievements, Butler’s story explores pregnancy, motherhood, and what it means to navigate both her queer and Mexican-Indigenous identities. She writes about miscarriage, pregnancy, and parenting a child with a disability with frankness that is both touching and refreshing. All of this adds layers of complexity and depth to Apocalypse Child, offering an expansive exploration of personal growth and resilience through a diverse lens. 

If you’re a fan of Educated and reading about cults, surviving high-control environments, and self-discovery, Apocalypse Child is the perfect pick for you. It’s a compelling read that offers a fresh perspective on what it means to come of age, learn to think for yourself, and find your community. Trust us when we say you won’t be able to put it down!

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Thank you to Malaika Aleba at Caitlin Press for sharing Apocalypse Child: Surviving Doomsday and the Search for Identity at the End of the World with us.

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