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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  33,371 ratings  ·  4,415 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
Hardcover, 413 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Broadway Books
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,371 ratings  ·  4,415 reviews

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Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
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
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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,
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mariah Roze
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This author did it again! I loved her book Triumph so I had to read Escape. Both were amazing and super eye opening!!!

*P.s. This is my first 5 star book of 2018*

This book goes through Carolyn's life. It starts off with her being born into Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) and ending with her freedom and her success of her children.

When she was eighteen years old she had an arranged marriage Merril Jessop, a man 30 years older than her and who already had thre
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction-cults
Carolyn was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). She never knew any other way of life. But, fortunately, she was 'allowed' to attend college, and rubbed shoulders ... just a tiny bit ... with outsiders. Also, as she was studying for a teaching degree, her education exposed her to concepts about child care, etc. that she had never encountered. After living a life where every move she made had to be 'approved' by her husband for 17 years, and after beari ...more
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Lady Jane
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
"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
Liza Fireman
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and crazy, or maybe the order should be reversed. It is almost impossible to believe that this could be anybody's reality. Horrifying is probably the more accurate word for this story.

This book is so much better than The Sound of Gravel, that I read earlier in 2016. It gives a true glimpse into the core of polygamy, into the crazy world of (insane) prophets. Into a world of complete obedience, where control is being achieved in unimaginable ways. Control preventing the minimum necess
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
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
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
Diane Chamberlain
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book opened my eyes to how things are so different and challenging. It really makes you think that maybe you don't have it so bad. It drew me in, I felt like that I was there with her. I really enjoyed this book. I think that it will stay with me for a long time.
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Can you say "Rush to publish"?

There are two things I'm going to review here. One is the premise and the value of the story. The second is the actual writing and presentation of the story.

First thing. Great story. Harrowing, scary, sick. Thought-provoking.

Second thing. Horrible, horrible, horrible writing. If the story wasn't so compelling by itself, I never would have kept reading. I don't think this ever got past a second editor review. Awkward sentences, bad grammar, rotten phrasing, boring an
Lisa Butterworth
Apr 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the most thorough detailing of this particular cultural and religious context to this sect's mode reality that I've ever come across. And not just for polygamy practices either. Because by its very nature of numbers, economics of both time and resources- it's half way to abuse by its dynamics of authority and hierarchy. It's life lived amongst vastly "unequal" members who are yet classified family.

But beyond the servile and abusive to individuality "form" is also the occurrence of vile e
Nov 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm reading this book again. Sometimes it contradicts in some places and it gets repetitive but the main thing to remember is WHY THE HELL DO PEOPLE HAVE TO STAY IN THESE STUPID ASS CULTS?
I reckon they are brain washed into them, but it's so warped! Children are supposed to be gifts from God but you smack them around and beat them. Women have no choice and get stuck marrying men they don't want to marry. It's not like the men have it any better, but at least they don't have to bow to some jerk w
May 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't know where to begin at how amazing, shocking, and ultimately hopeful this book is. When I first started I thought it would be a quick read because I had read a few memoirs from wives that had left(escaped) polygamy and the FLDS. Not so! I was fully engaged by the time Carolyn married Marril. What a hellish existance and a brave journey to freedom.

I immediately looked up Jeffs and Jessop after I finished. There is a photo of Merril Jessop's first 6 wives and reading about Jeffs trial was
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-stories
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
Erik Graff
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
This was one of the most moving books I've ever read, it being the account of one woman's life under the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints. I'd previously read Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven and, so, already knew something of this polygamous branch of Mormonism, but this first-person account packed an emotional wallop that more journalistic account didn't. Also, and probably very importantly, this is a woman's story, a story of girlhood, marriage and motherhood under extreme ...more
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Play Book Tag: Escape by Carolyn Jessop- 5 stars for story. 3 16 May 28, 2016 02:29PM  
Enjoyed the read 2 26 Jun 04, 2013 03:47PM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Yearning for Zion Ranch Newspaper Article 1 12 Oct 08, 2012 05:46PM  
A Novel Idea Book...: Preliminary thoughts.. 1 9 Sep 18, 2012 02:05PM  

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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.
“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.” 7 likes
“How could any woman endure a life of misery with such a cheap promise of appreciation after her death?” 5 likes
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