Bonnie Morse's Reviews > Triumph

Triumph by Carolyn Jessop
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's review
Sep 02, 12

bookshelves: radical-women, religion
Read from August 28 to September 02, 2012

Triumph was a huge disappointment compared to Jessops first book, escape. I decided to read it because it was written after the big raid on the Yearning For Zion ranch in Texas which ended with over 400 abused children being returned to their parents. I was hoping there would be information on what happened after that, if the law totally abandoned those children, if things had gone back to business as usual at the YFZ.

The first half of Triumph told that story, but only as it applied to Carolyn Jessop. She wrote about her importance in the investigation, repeating on nearly every page (and I read it on Kindle and iPod, which means very small pages) how influential she was based on her 35 years in the FLDS, 17 of which were spent as the 4th wife of an important leader. She testified before the US Senate and interspersed accounts of her testimony with paragraphs about how very special and important she was to making the case. Her worry about the abused children was centered solely on her involvement with some of them, one of whom was her own natural daughter and eight others her stepchildren. Basically, everything the FLDS did was about her, and law enforcement would have been totally helpless without her.

That part was still interesting enough to keep me reading, there were just enough snippets of real information mixed in with her smug self-importance to give me hope that real progress had been made. But all too soon it was time for Part 2, How Carolyn Jessop Survived Her Marriage to Merrill Jessop by Being Better than Everyone Else. For real. How she took control of the chaotic household and her own life by being morally superior and always knowing she was right no matter what happened. It's broken into sections, each titled with a moral lesson about standing up for yourself or setting your own standards or something, and illustrated with self-serving stories about how everyone in the house, Merrill, his wives, and all of his children, were out to get her but she ultimately TRIUMPHED IN HER HEART by being BETTER THAN THEM IN EVERY WAY.

I sympathized with her anger at being accused, by every living person in the United States, apparently, of writing her first book, Escape, to make money. It was obvious reading that book it was a story she needed to tell and she did it very well. But this book? It was written for the money, no doubt. And, of course, to reinforce the overwhelmingly self-evident fact that she is BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. I'm sorry I fed into that by paying her for my copy.

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