Nadav Spiegelman


Tara Westover
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She was a short, plump woman in her late forties, with eleven children and a russet-colored wart on her chin. She had the longest hair I’d ever seen, a cascade the color of field mice that fell to her knees when she took it out of its tight bun. Her features were heavy, her voice thick with authority. She had no license, no certificates. She was a midwife entirely by the power of her own say-so, which was more than enough.
Mother’s face twists into an ugly smile. She’s grasping for humor but the memory is jaundiced.
When I picture her now I conjure a single image, as if my memory is a slide projector and the tray is stuck.
Dad had dreamed up many dangerous schemes over the years, but this was the first that really shocked me. Perhaps it was the obvious lethality of it, the certainty that a wrong move would cost a limb. Or maybe that it was utterly unnecessary. It was indulgent. Like a toy, if a toy could take your head off. Shawn called it a death machine and said Dad had lost what little sense he’d ever had.
Curiosity is a luxury reserved for the financially secure:
At dinner I listened to the cheerful chatter of my friends while longing for the isolation of my room.
Dad came in for a drink of water. He smiled when he saw me. “Who knew we’d have to send you to Cambridge to get you in the kitchen where you belong?” he said.
For the first time in fifteen years, I closed my journal and put it away. Journaling is contemplative, and I didn’t want to contemplate anything.