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Topic: Escape by Carolyn Jessop (memoir)

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L. G. (L)
Subject: Escape by Carolyn Jessop (memoir)
Date Posted: 10/24/2008 3:33 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Wow - just wow!  This book is one of the better memoirs I have read this year.   This is the story of Carolyn Jessop's life in the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) community in Arizona. 

FLDS culture and religion believe the only way a woman can obtain life in heaven is through exaltation by her husband.  The FLDS are polygamists and men have complete control over their families.  They believe women should be obedient and subservient, and blame anything that goes wrong on the women not being in harmony with their husbands.   The community  is run by a "prophet" and everyone is directed by his "revelations from God".  Young girls are married off in arranged marriages, as pawns of their father, to help him gain status in the community.  Sometimes the men marrying these girls are 30-60 years older than they, or more, and almost always have multiple wives.   

This is Carolyn's story - how she suffered as a child and then was married off to one of the more influential men in the FLDS community, Merril Jessop.  She describes the horror of her life, and how things began to deteriorate as a new leader, Warren Jeffs, came in to power.  It is also the story of her brave escape.  The book is well written but difficult subject matter is covered - child abuse, animal cruelty, emotional and physical abuse, poverty, blackmail - and a number of other difficult subjects.  It is a long book (over 400 pages), but very enthralling - one you will not want to put down.   it is definitely worth the time and a credit!

 

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2005
Posts: 2,168
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Edited.... because I changed my mind :-)



Last Edited on: 10/24/08 9:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/24/2008 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 5,499
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Try not to fall over in shock L, but.....I absolutely agree with you!!!!  ;-)

Escape was an amazing book to read.  Her story drew me in and I found myself living in her world.  During the beginning part of the story, when she was growing up, I thought to myself that her life couldn't possibly get any worse and how awful it was.  Then she married Jessop and holy cow her life was horrific.   Her earlier years started looking "normal" by comparison.  @@ 

We live not too far from the AZ compound that she lived in for years and every time we drive through there I'm reminded about her amazing story and courage, but so disheartened for the women and children still living that life. 

My copy of this book has been passed throughout my family and friends.  Everyone who's read it has been touched.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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I went through an "escaping from polygamy" memoir phase earlier this year.  I read Shattered Dreams, His Favorite Wife (written by the sister-wife of the author of Shattered), Escape and finally Stolen Innocence.  They were all facinating.  Shattered Dreams was my favorite. It is amazing to me the lack of freedom all these women had.  When I joined PBS in June they were the first to go off my shelf.  If you have a chance read one fo them - it will make you appreciate what you have.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 10/24/2008 10:56 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Thanks for the recs, Donna.  I will see if I can get them.

I got Escape from the library because the WL is so long here - may have to do the same with the others.

Carol, I think what horrified me the most was the way Merril ignored Harrison's medical problems, and allowed the children to starve.  Absolutely horrifying!  That any man could turn his back on his children like that is unfathomable.

I am always wary of books like this because the potential for religious persecution is so high, but man, oh man, this one spoke to the soul, and I really believe everything she wrote.

 

 

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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I read this book right before the removal of the children from the  compound in Texas.  I would assume that her daughter who returned to the sect had children there.  I was captivated by her story.

Date Posted: 10/25/2008 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 5,499
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L, it's as if the children only have worth to him (and many of the men) once they reach a certain age and are able to be used as a pawn in their plans.  It was absolutely disgusting and I was in tears at so many points in the book thinking about those poor children.

I agree with you about reading books that seem to be breeding religious intolerance, BUT this one really touched a nerve in me.  Seriously scary stuff.  :(

Date Posted: 10/25/2008 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2005
Posts: 3,000
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I thought the story was interesting, but the book was repetitive and very poorly written/edited (IMO).  I have a few other similarly themed books on my WL and I'm looking forward to reading them.

Date Posted: 10/25/2008 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,156
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Hokay, I was all set to add this one to my WL, and then you mentioned the starving of kids.  Lyn, you know how I am with this stuff, esp since The Children's Blizzard.  I just can't do tormented children any more.  That is why I am so enjoying all these little "easy" memoirs I've been reading lately.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 10/25/2008 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Bonnie, I really don't think you should read this one.  What that mother (and children)  had to endure is absolutely heartbreaking.  There's a happy ending though, so it is redeeming, but it is very difficult to read.