Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Escape” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  24,862 ratings  ·  3,734 reviews
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 marri
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Broadway Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Carolyn Jessop's story of her life in the polygamous community the FLDS is one of those books that is simultaneously hard to read and difficult to put down. It's hard to read because her tale is one of non-stop abuse, from the apocalyptic nightmare that was drilled into her head as a child to the regular violence committed against women and children in the community in the name of God. But it is when Carolyn is given at 18 to be the fourth wife of a man 30 years her senior that things really bec ...more
Laura Debenham
I sat up til 2 A.M. finishing this book. It was an intense experience. It made me grieve for the inequities in my own culture between men and women along with the fear that holds me down.

Having lived near Colorado City, reading this book made me look back on my experience living in St. George, Utah with new eyes. I attended Dixie College in the mid 1980's. There had been a girl in my Spanish class who wore the "plig" uniform and did her hair in the dippidy-doo flip. She was ostracized by most o
Have you ever read a book that completely encompassed your entire life? That is precisely how I felt about "Escape". Even when I was not reading it it would constantly be in the back of my mind. As I took my kid's to the park and then to Target for a special treat I would think, "How horrible that Carolyn did not even have the freedom to do something as small and inconsequential as this." When I was doing my laundry I would realize how easy it was for me and what a terrible ordeal it was for Car ...more
Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
All right. We're going an even three on this one.

I finished Escape a few days ago and felt a little confused about my feelings over this book. I even mentioned this in a phone conversation with another writer-friend.

The story is compelling. It would be compelling if it were fiction; the fact that it's true takes it somewhat beyond compelling and into horrifying territory. The FLDS "church" is perpetrating human rights atrocities on American soil, and the government has, until very recent years,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the truth behing Warren Jeffs and the FLDS
Shelves: greatreads
I head read Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, had read about the raids in Texas, and heard about the arrest of Warren Jeffs, but nothing opened my eyes to what the FLDS was up to, until I read this book. It is scary to see how religion can become perversed by power hungry people. In fact, I was shocked to see that many of the tactics used to keep people loyal to the church are being used by our government to do the same with the American people. The kind of fear and mistrust of others ...more
I don’t know why I spend so much time reading and searching for the next “utopian society gone horribly wrong” fiction, when there is a real such society existing right in my former backyard (Hi Arizona!). Actually, I do know why. When I stop and consider that not only is this shit real, but occurring in my own country (not to mention, to women around the world), it depresses the hell out of me. The polygamy isn’t really the scariest part – in theory, I actually don’t have a problem with polygam ...more
Apr 02, 2008 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: found it on my own
I am not even halfway through this book and I am going to give it high marks already for being one of those books that you cannot put down. It is exceedingly appealing to the tiniest crumb of voyeur that you have in you, that which might be interested in polygamists, spouse abuse (not only husband-to-wife, but also wife-to-wife), weird clothing, weird sex, and just freaky shit in general. I race from page to page thinking, "That cannot have happened!" and "In this day and age?" and "Women, treat ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
I have a strange obsession with the FLDS. I really can't help myself. They REALLY BELIEVE in magical underwear; underwear with magical, protective qualities. Blows my mind. They believe that having multiple wives will get you into heaven - where those lucky wives will continue to serve their husbands for all eternity! Eek!

They believe all sorts of wonky things that I see as wonky because I was not born into it, so, from the outside, that stuff just seems crazy jacked up. Really jacked up. So how
hilary lay
why am i reading this book?
is it because of my strange, morbid fascination with rabid polygamist cults? or because it says on the cover that the author was married at eighteen to a fifty-year-old guy with three other wives and than had eight children in fifteen years, and who WOULDN'T be curious?
although the insider-cult bits pertaining to warren jeffs are interesting, the writing is very elementary and naive. i know it's not her "fault" that she, for instance, is describing with wide-eyed w
Interesting -- kind of like watching Cops is interesting. You don't really like it, but you can't pull yourself away beause it's so unbelievable.
Lisa Butterworth
This book was very informative about flds culture and easy to read. I admit I skimmed parts, but I was more interested in getting the big picture and dude, what a hard life.

It always frustrates me so much when people are so blithe about pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, as though it's just so easy to escape the circumstances of our birth and culture and build an independent life. This book clearly illustrates the many flaws in the whole boot-strap mind-set. It took a lot of lucky breaks a
Wow. This book is quite the trip, if you're up for it. I had never really wondered all that much about what life would be like for women living in polygamy. My general attitude towards the whole FLDS culture (including Warren Jeffs, when he was getting tons of news coverage) was, "Well, that's their thing." But, this book makes it abundantly clear that this isn't just a matter of freedom of religion. It is opression, manipulation, and totalitarianism at its worst. Polygamy, as portrayed here, is ...more
Lady Jane
"Here is something I have learned the hard way, but which a lot of well-meaning people in the West have a hard time accepting: All human beings are equal but all cultures and religions are not. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad, p. 212

I could barely put Caroly Jessop's harrowing story of her life within and escape from the FLDS church and community down and I can't stop thinking about it now.

Tony Campolo theorizes in The Power Delusion that in personal and corporate relationships, those that love least hav
A fascinating memoir and look into the FLDS freakshow (not to be confused with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have nothing to do with this group and have been very outspoken about the FLDS's heinous and unlawful ways). It was really interesting to see into family dynamics in a polygamist household and my heart just ached at the helplessness of the women and children to do anything about their situations without taking drastic measures. It also chronicled the reign of Warren ...more
I couldn't put this book down, so I read it in one day. I'm not sure what's more outrageous - the fact that this book is NOT fiction, or the fact that this craziness is going on in the 21st century United States. Despite the horror of Jessop's story, her words are still uplifting and her triumphs against such impossible odds are inspiring. I was tearing up at the end. Definitely a must-read.
I used to think the FLDS were basically good people, just a little confused but doing their best to live their religion. I was horrified that their children were taken from them. After reading this book I am not so sure anymore???

According to Carolyn Jessop's story these people are brainwashed, seriously confused, unable to think for themselves, physically and mentally abusive to each other, They have taken a celestial principle and turned it into sheer wickedness. The way they have mangled the
Mar 26, 2008 Patti rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone 18 and older
You hear about these things,but wonder to yourself if it's really true,and then put it out of your mind. After reading this book I not only belive these things are truly happening,but while reading it,I wanted to jump up and try to get all of those women out of that religion!! LOL Of course,I'm just an itty bitty woman that lives in an itty bitty town in Wisconsin,so not much I can do for these women.I just thank God that America's Most Wanted was able to "capture" the guy that became the Leader ...more
I did like this book but it was very disturbing to me in the sense that people really live in that kind of abuse. I was interested in reading it with all of the "YFZ" stuff on the news. It is a true story about a woman who after living in a polygamy colony all her life and being one of the wives of an abusive husband finally, in her own word, "escapes". It was heartbreaking to me what she lived through. I thought I wanted to choose this book to read for book club but I have changed my mind. Ther ...more
This is certainly a must-read if you live in Utah, or Texas; if you are Mormon; or if you think polygamy is a victimless crime. It would certainly be interesting if a current polygamist wife could write her version of life in the FLDS community! This book is horrifying, but fascinating. It's difficult to believe anything like this is happening in THIS century.
Inacreditável! Na primeira parte do livro, e de tão estranha e incompreensível é esta realidade, parecia-me quase que estava a ler ficção. Esta senhora é uma verdadeira heroína dos tempos modernos.
Jun 25, 2008 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2008 Vaughn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book was absolutely jaw dropping. It gives wonderful insight to not only a fanatical (fundalmental) way of life, but to know HOW many people are involved right here in the United States!! Her upbringing and way of life is surprising for a "religious" sect and when married at 18, it's a whole new role she plays. The demands and rules from her husband, her lack of freedom, the terrible treatment from her sister wives, the way her children were raised and used to pit the adults against each ot ...more
May 12, 2008 Paige rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paige by: Sarah
I just finished this for my book club. I gave it a 4 because it was a very interesting look into the FLDS religion. I wouldn't take her account as absolutely true of every FLDS family--and she admits a lot of the abuse she experienced was unique to her particular situation. As a member of the LDS church, I was annoyed by the author's mingling of "mainstream Mormons" and the FLDS. It was clear (to me) that she didn't know much about the LDS church and seemed to think we hold a lot of the same bel ...more
Jessop is a sixth generation polygamist who took her 8 kids and escaped the FLDS cult in Colorado City AZ. She was one of several wives and her husband was a major leader in the cult.

Pretty good book, although, her writing is a bit simple and every now and then she feels compelled to remind us how exceptional she is. I think she still has self esteem issues.

There's a large population of FLDS in AZ and every now and then there are news stories about runaway wives. Especially now that Warren Jeff
Diane Chamberlain
This book was not particularly well written, but I give it four stars because I found it engrossing. The insight into polygamy and the cult mentality was enlightening. Jessop paints herself in a very positive light, and the cynic in me wonders what is true and what is not. However, the fact that she had a severely disabled child (along with seven others) and still managed to get them all out couldn't help but win my sympathy. The book also helped me better understand one of my favorite HBO shows ...more
This story blew my mind away. First of all, the story is very well written, it's very detailed. Things like these should never, EVER happen to anyone! I can't believe some people are so mean to play with other people's mind. These people brainwashed and ruined so many people, families, children, husbands, wives, parents,… I admire Carolyn for being so strong and intelligent even though she grew up in a community where people didn't think with their own brains. Having your own opinion and intelli ...more
Carolyn Jessop was a member of Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints who believe in polygamy. This is the story of her life and her escape from this group. I saw an interview with CArolyn a few weeks ago.

Carolyn grew up in this fundamentalist group. As a child, her father only had one wife. The family even lived outside the group for a year when she was a child. As a teenager, her father was asked to marry another wife. Her second mother never lived with them at first, but later on she
This was a very difficult book to read. I had read Elissa Wall's memoir a few months ago and was shocked by her revelations, but this one was even harder for me to read. It was one of those books that are almost impossible to put down, however.

Carolyn Jessop was the first woman to escape the FLDS polygamous compound with all of her children, and live to continue in freedom. This book is her story of the psychological abuse she suffered at the hands of her "husband" Merril Jessop, and his other w
I stayed up until 3am finishing this book. I felt guilty reading it during the day because it was so hard to put down that I felt like I was neglecting my family and getting irritated by their interruptions. This book makes you angry and agitated for a few days. You'll get on the web and start rereading all the YFZ raid news stories searching for names you learned in the book. You'll google their images so you can see their faces after reading about their lives. I remember feeling a little sorry ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Book Clubs at...: Escape, by Carolyn Jessop 1 7 Aug 20, 2014 03:55PM  
Enjoyed the read 2 24 Jun 04, 2013 03:47PM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Yearning for Zion Ranch Newspaper Article 1 7 Oct 08, 2012 05:46PM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Preliminary thoughts.. 1 6 Sep 18, 2012 02:05PM  
  • Church of Lies
  • Lost Boy
  • Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife
  • Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs
  • His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy
  • Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints
  • Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up in Polygamy
  • When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back
  • God's Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation
  • Wife No. 19
  • Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy
  • Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement
  • Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith
  • The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice
  • Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple
  • fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science
  • Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed by Those They Trusted
  • Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult
Carolyn Jessop is a former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints member who wrote Escape, an autobiographical account of her upbringing in the polygamist sect and later flight from that community.

She is the cousin, by marriage, of Flora Jessop, another former FLDS member and advocate for abused children.

Carolyn Jessop now lives in the Salt Lake City area with her children.
More about Carolyn Jessop...

Share This Book

“No one was more surprised than I to realize that my newfound freedom had been purchased by giving up on eternity and settling for hell.” 6 likes
“Warren Jeffs is both a problem and the symptom of a problem. The FLDS has created a lot of Warrens, men who are intoxicated with their own power, believing they need at least three wives to get into heaven and wanting to dominate women and children. Generation after generation of believers have been conditioned to equate obedience with salvation. People who have never been taught of allowed to think for themselves don't suddenly change. Change it too frightening. ” 3 likes
More quotes…