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Escape Paperback – December 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Seventeen years after being forced into a polygamous marriage, Jessop escaped from the cultlike Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints with her eight children. She recounts the horrid events that led her to break free from the oppressive world she knew and how she has managed to survive since escaping, despite threats and legal battles with her husband and the Church. Though sometimes her retelling overflows with colorful foreshadowing and commentary on how exceptional she is, the everyday details she reveals about this polygamous society are devastating and tragic. Frasier delivers Jessop's words in a soft voice that develops intriguingly from an innocent and naïve tone into a more assertive and self-confident one that mirrors Jessop's journey. She maintains the same rhythm, but through the inspired words of the text, she really embraces Jessop's persona. The bonus telephone interview with Jessop on the final disc suffers from poor sound quality and, unfortunately, doesn't add any new information. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Escape provides an astonishing look behind the tightly drawn curtains of the FLDS Church, one of the most secretive religious groups in the United States. 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 Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767927575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767927574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (854 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Jessop was born in 1968 and raised in the largest community of the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints in the US. She spent 17 years in a polygamous marriage to one of the most powerful men in the FLDS community, before escaping. She lives in Utah with her children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

643 of 669 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Escape is undoubtedly one of the most bizarre memoirs you are ever likely to read. It is small wonder that it quickly made its mark on the New York Times list of bestsellers. Written by Carolyn Jessop, a woman who was born into the Fundamentalist Lattery Day Saints (FLDS), the book describes what it is like to live as part of this cult which is distinctive primarily for its beliefs about polygamy. The FLDS, which emerged in the 1930s as a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon church, holds that God has ordained polygamy and not only that, but that it is a requirement for anyone who wishes to attain the highest level of heaven. Most men eventually have at least three wives, with more prominent members of the cult holding far more than that. Some of the leaders are believed to have fifty, sixty, or even one hundred wives. Women are generally placed with husbands at the whim of the cult's leader (who claims to receive divine guidance about which women belong with certain men). There are around 10,000 adherents to this cult living in the United States today.

Jessop was born into a family that eventually had two wives but one that, compared to others in the community, seemed almost normal. When she was just eighteen, though, she was assigned to become the fourth wife of a fifty-five year old man. While she was married to him he added two more wives and later went on to add five or six more. Through fifteen years of marriage, Jessop gave birth to eight children. Through her marriage she suffered constant abuse at the hands of her husband, his other wives, and other members of the community.
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122 of 130 people found the following review helpful By ElphabaThropp on November 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took me only 2 days to read this book. The language is smooth and flowing, easy to follow. The book itself is chilling. Is this REALLY going on in mainstream America? Is our government, let alone the citizens of this country, allowing these abuses to thrive in this modern day and age? This book is moving and eye-opening. The real people who should be reading it are those locked into the FLDS who, sadly, will probably never even have access to a library in their lifetime. I hope the author will one day write a sequel to this book, I'd be very interested in knowing how this amazing woman's life has 'turned out'. Especially in regard to her daughter Betty, and in light of the exposure of Warren Jeffs and newly, "the lost boys".
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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Teel VINE VOICE on October 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When a memoir is turned into an audiobook it seems especially important that the narrator sound as if she could be the author. Narrator Alison Fraser accomplishes that and much more. She voices an accurate and believable Carolyn Jessop, the remarkable woman who escaped with her eight children from the grips of a violent and abusive cult - the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Carolyn's true story is one of survival. Born into a polygamist society, Carolyn is married off at age 18 as the fourth wife of Merril Jessop, a prominent leader in the FLDS community. As Carolyn becomes pregnant nearly every year, she struggles against oppression by her husband, his other wives, and the violently misogynistic community. Narrator Alison Fraser is able to perfectly capture both Carolyn's vulnerability and strength, along with her naiveté and cunning intelligence, which makes Escape a gripping and believable audiobook. Listeners will feel as if Carolyn herself is telling this story, which is the sign of a perfectly produced audiobook.
-Jessica Teel
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By C. Bundy on October 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yesterday I started Escape by Carolyn Jessop and I couldn't put it down. What an incredible story! Ms. Jessop is a hero and an inspiration. I must admit that had I not had the experience of living in St. George, Utah for the past 5 years I would find her story hard to believe - however I am sure that every word is true. My heart goes out to Ms. Jessop and her children and I wish them the best and hope that they overcome their years of programming, abuse and adversity and live long, free, happy and healthy lives. Ms. Jessop's story is distrubing and frightening - to think that there are so many hopeless people enduring a life of horrible abuse, all in the name of God. I praise Ms. Jessop for her role in bringing down the evil criminal Warren Jeffs and I pray that the other evil heartless criminal Merril Jessop will also find his just rewards in this life. A lifetime in jail is a fitting punishment for both of these despicable men. Hurray to you Carolyn, you are a brave woman and my new hero.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Kline VINE VOICE on October 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Listeners will not want to turn off the CD's until heroine Carolyn Jessop manages to escape the horrific world of the FLDS. Carolyn's memoir describes a world in which women are totally and utterly controlled - by their fathers, husbands, and religious leaders. Through calculated planning, and a lot of smarts and guts, Carolyn manages to free herself and her eight children from this nightmare world. This book was highly successful in audio format. Alison Fraser reads Escape and she sounds exactly how I imagine Carolyn Jessop might read. Her performance is appropriately emotionally without being overly theatrical, which makes the listener feel as if a real person, and not an actress, is telling this tale. An interview with the author is also included, which I found quite interesting and enjoyable. I highly recommend this audiobook. Escape is a true life horror story that fortunately has a happy ending.
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