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Publisher's Summary

When she was 18 years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger - a man 32 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. Over the next 15 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 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. But in 2003 Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children.

Escape exposes a world that is tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop's flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. 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 its notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.

©2007 Visionary Classics, LLC; (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"The story Carolyn Jessop tells is so weird and shocking that one hesitates to believe a sect like this, with 10,000 polygamous followers, could really exist in 21st-century America. But Jessop's courageous, heart-wrenching account is absolutely factual. This riveting book reminds us that truth can indeed be much, much stranger than fiction." (Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air and Into the Wild)

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  • Benoibe
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 05-26-13

Shocking and important! Couldn't stop listening.

This book shocked me. Carolyn Jessop is truly an extraordinary woman. Brave and intelligent and a loving mother. Her story is shocking and compelling. America must act to stop polygamy in our states. The lifestyle is a terribly destructive cycle, and there are so many children that it astonishes me. Uneducated brainwashed children with no future. It's so disgusting. I can't understand why our government is not more active.

The LDS or mainstream Mormons definitely are marred by the amount of polygamist sects that continue in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, etc. In fact, I have trouble seeing the Mormon religion as anything but a cult. Joseph Smith, founder of Church of Mormons, and Brigham Young, the famous leader who brought them to Salt Lake, absolutely believed in and preached that polygamy was the way to god. Both had polygamous marriages. I'm not sure when Mormons stopped practicing polygamy, but it is a strong value of their scriptures. This is bizarre. FLDS undermines the entire idea of the Mormons as a religion, making the whole thing seem like a creepy cult. As long as this continues, Mormons will always be seen with apprehension. Their common practice of sweeping it under the rug and ignoring the polygamist sects makes it worse, not better.

I hope that women like Carolyn Jessop continue telling their stories. We need to support these women and stop this sick CYCLE of sex, control, manipulation and domination. How on earth is this happening in the US in the 21st century?????

*** REALLY enjoyed the interview with Carolyn at the end of the book. Hearing her own voice made her that much more compelling.

Must read!!!!!!

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 04-22-13

Escaping the FLDS

I read this book several years ago from my public library, and decided to purchase it from Audible and reread it.

Carolyn Jessop is an incredibly strong woman, considering what she went through during the first 35 years of her life. This book details her personal observations of life with the FLDS, and provides enough insight into the history and workings to this group that will quickly get the uninitiated up to speed.

Anne Marie Lee is a great choice of narrator for this book. There is some dialogue in it, but she does not really have to project different characters' voices much. Her emotions are lightly drawn out, and inflection is just perfect for the book.

The book opens with the prologue of Carolyn's escape from the FLDS, then backtracks to her early life, childhood, marriage, children, etc. When it gets to the point of the escape again, it seems to completely omit the details in the prologue, which I thought kind of jumpy for readability's sake. Another quibble I have with the book is Carolyn's assertion of her "specialness"; SHE was not going to take this, SHE would observe things that no one else would Perhaps this is true, and perhaps this is Laura Palmer writing in this way, but is just grated a bit in places.

Overall, however, this book is a welcome addition to former FLDS memoirs, and biographies in general.

Enjoy!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Megan
  • Brookhaven, PA, USA
  • 08-06-09

so worth the read!

This book was amazing. It really opened my eyes to the plight of the women and children living in polygamy. I was interested in this story and looked it up on the internet but the book offers so much more info. It is hard to read, but inspiring. I am a changed person for reading this

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing Story

After hearing an interview with Carolyn Jessop on BBC I had to get this book. Her story is unbelievably powerful. When she was 18 she was forced to marry a power hungry sadist that was over twice her age. It is hard to believe that I can relate to her story (considering that I am a single IT guy that was a rebel growing up and left my parents house at 18 because I could not have girls in my room), but I can. Jessops story is both inspiring and informative and sheds an important light on the FLDS that has been in the news recently. You will not believe that this kind of oppression is happening right here in the USA. I applaud Carolyn for her brave Escape.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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inspiring

Carolyn Jessop is one of the most amazing women that I have ever read about. She is an inspiration to all women in oppressing situations. This book was well written, easy to follow, and I would recommend that everyone would read this book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Wilmington , NC, USA
  • 02-24-08

Interesting

The subject matter of the book was interesting to me - lifestyle of the members of the community as well as the edicts which dictated their actions. I was fascinated by the transformation of the community over time. It was also a really unique perspective to hear about the community from a person who although born into the religion never could make herself believe the doctrine. At first I was concerned I would not enjoy the book because I felt the author was rather vitriolic but as she continued her story, I did not feel put off by the tone at all. I never felt the book was too long or read in a boring way. All in all, I found the book very interesting to listen to & it made me appreciate the life I was born into.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • Port St Lucie, FL, United States
  • 11-07-07

Incredible Journey

This is a amazing story of a woman who finally was able to be free. A very devoted mother, who took a stand for herself and her children. This book is one that you wont want to stop listening to.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Powerful

much more real and even and believable than the more bitter and forced LEAVING THE SAINTS. One only wonders why she dragged eight kids through all of that as long as she did.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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wow... just wow!

God was truly watching over this woman during her escape from the FLDS. Such a role model.

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Terrific story of guts and determination

What did you love best about Escape?

The honesty & the story behind everything. I have become a bit of a "student" fascinated with this lifestyle. I knew Warren Jeffs was a whacko, but never realized how truly insane he is! This story was terrific as told by a survivor & I was so happy when she escaped & intrigued to hear her story of recovery & what it took for the children to come around to a "normal" life. (What most of us consider normal, at least)

What was one of the most memorable moments of Escape?

Just the elation of when they were out. The freedom & excitement to know they were out, but still concerned about being hunted by the sect. With every twist & turn, the celebrations & the next thing her husband threw in her face, I found myself saying "You son-of-a-bitch" from time to time.

Which character – as performed by Ann Marie Lee – was your favorite?

Carolyn herself - she did a great job of narration & was pleasant to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Very excited to read her follow up "Triumph"

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