4 reviews

by Carolyn Jessop, Laura Palmer

Published: 2007-10-16
Hardcover : 413 pages
14 members reading this now
32 clubs reading this now
9 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 4 members

The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect, and one woman’s courageous flight to freedom with her eight children.

When she was eighteen years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger: a man ...

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The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect, and one woman’s courageous flight to freedom with her eight children.

When she was eighteen years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger: a man thirty-two years her senior. Merril Jessop already had three wives. But arranged plural marriages were an integral part of Carolyn’s heritage: She was born into and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the radical offshoot of the Mormon Church that had settled in small communities along the Arizona-Utah border. Over the next fifteen years, Carolyn had eight children and withstood her husband’s psychological abuse and the watchful eyes of his other wives who were locked in a constant battle for supremacy.

Carolyn’s every move was dictated by her husband’s whims. He decided where she lived and how her children would be treated. He controlled the money she earned as a school teacher. He chose when they had sex; Carolyn could only refuse—at her peril. For in the FLDS, a wife’s compliance with her husband determined how much status both she and her children held in the family. Carolyn was miserable for years and wanted out, but she knew that if she tried to leave and got caught, her children would be taken away from her. No woman in the country had ever escaped from the FLDS and managed to get her children out, too. But in 2003, Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children. She had $20 to her name.

Escape exposes a world tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics who, in the name of God, deprive their followers the right to make choices, force women to be totally subservient to men, and brainwash children in church-run schools. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop’s flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. Not only did she manage a daring escape from a brutal environment, she became the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the FLDS. And in 2006, her reports to the Utah attorney general on church abuses formed a crucial part of the case that led to the arrest of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Liked it and disliked it at the same time"by zulloc (see profile) 07/02/09

This book was similar to seeing a car accident. You don't really want to look but you can't help it. I felt compelled to keep reading this book despite the fact that at times her stories seemed off and... (read more)

  "informative read"by srhmrtnz (see profile) 05/10/09

The book gives a little insight into the life of a former flds member. Interesting read.

  "Escape by Carolyn Jessop"by jenmanby (see profile) 05/08/09

  "Brave tale of life in the FLDS and escape with 8 children."by teatime (see profile) 10/15/08

It is very brave of her to write about this abuse and escape. Her sacrifice and struggles inside the FLDS and on the outside fighting for her rights. This is similar to "Stolen Innocence" and just as... (read more)

  "A first person account of life inside the FLDS cult and how she escaped."by reds285 (see profile) 09/17/08

I thought this book was excellent. It held my attention from the first page. I was very eager to start it and I am hoping my book club feels the same way.

  "Eye opening account of life within a fundamentalist cult."by mdhaus (see profile) 09/12/08

A timely read after the Texas raid and subsequent court judgements; this is a gripping story of one woman's enlightenment and escape. It was hard to believe that this could happen here in the United States... (read more)

  "Good read!"by netsiren (see profile) 07/31/08

I enjoyed this book. The whole time I was reading it I just kept thinking to myself "Wow, this is here in the US not another country, but here".

  "..interesting, dusturbing, and definitely one to prompt discussion"by apriljbrown (see profile) 07/15/08

..a slow read..but well worth it. I found it to be extrememly educational and insightful...a book to remember.

  "Woman escapes Fundamentalist Mormon sect after enduring physical, verbal and emotional abuse"by mkurtzman (see profile) 06/22/08

This book really initiated conversations not only about the Mormon sect and everything that Carolyn Jessop endured, but also about religion itself and what male domination has wrought.
... (read more)

  "A timely book about the FLDS, an extreme Mormon sect told by Carolyn Jessop, who ultimately escaped."by acronen (see profile) 06/20/08

This was our book club's first meeting. We chose it because it is such a big story in the news lately and knew it would be easy to discuss. The book itself isn't a literary masterpiece, but it is topical... (read more)

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