The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir

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“What kind of Navy officer sits on his ship in the middle of the Mediterranean dreaming of gerbils?”

That’s the question that Holly Robinson sets out to answer in this warm and rollicking memoir of life with her father, the world’s most famous gerbil czar.

Starting with a few pairs of gerbils housed for curiosity’s sake in the family’s garage, Donald Robinson’s obsession with the “pocket kangaroo” developed into a lifelong passion and second career. Soon the Annapolis-trained Navy commander was breeding gerbils and writing about them for publications ranging from the ever-bouncy Highlights for Children to the erudite Science News. To support his burgeoning business, the family eventually settled on a remote hundred-acre farm with horses, sheep, pygmy goats, peacocks–and nearly nine thousand gerbils.

From part-time model for her father’s bestselling pet book, How to Raise and Train Pet Gerbils, to full-time employee in the gerbil empire’s complex of prefab Sears buildings, Holly was an enthusiastic if often exasperated companion on her father’s quest to breed the perfect gerbil. Told with heart, humor, and affection, The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter is Holly’s ode to a weird and wonderful upbringing and her truly one-of-a-kind father.


From the Hardcover edition.
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About the author

HOLLY ROBINSON, an award-winning writer, has been a contributing editor to Ladies’ Home Journal and Parents, and her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping, and More, among other publications. She lives in northern Massachusetts with her husband and their five children.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Broadway Books
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Published on
May 26, 2009
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780307459824
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”—USA Today

“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
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