Sunday, April 10, 2011

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

Book:  Escape 

Author:  Carolyn Jessop 

Grade:  B - 

Recommended To:  Houdini, Monogamists, Women

I was so excited when I picked up this book for $1.70 at the closing Borders by my apartment.  This book was one of 6 that I got last weekend on the final day of the sale.  I couldn't believe they had a copy left! 

Escape is the true story of Carolyn Jessop who was placed in an arranged marriage to Merril Jessop, one of the most powerful men in the FLDS, at the age of 18.  She had 8 children with him in 15 years and she finally escaped his abuse and did it with ALL of her children.   Evidently her story really took off when she was asked to be a commentator on several news channels after the raid on Warren Jeffs' fundamentalist morman sect.

This book was in some ways excellent and in others reeked of the choppy sort of life story that it was. I liked this book because I am incredibly interested in the FLDS and in plural marriage.  Sister Wives, anyone?  Jessop has a really fascinating life, and it was very interesting to read about the FLDS in a first person account.  Several of the other books I've read, Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer being one, tell about the FLDS from a outsiders point of view.   I have no doubt that those books are true, but they are not first-person narratives from a writer that actually lived that experience.

It was shocking to read about the abuse that Jessop and her children suffered in their polygamist family.  This ranged from serious emotional abuse to physical and sometimes sexual abuse to her children.  Plus, it was surprising that there was such a lack of support of Carolyn in the family.  Probably from watching too much Big Love, I was under the impression that wives worked together but this was not the case in Jessop's family at all.  She was often on her own to care for her disabled son and her premature baby even while she was sick herself. 

There were some ways that this book just didn't measure up.  One of the downfalls of reading someone's life story is that it is just a collection of what they believe to be the most important parts of their life.  Things are always omitted, and this can make the story seem very choppy.  That is my biggest complaint about this book, Jessop devoted large chunks of book to what she believed were the most important parts (and I'm sure they were) but that gave the book an extremely choppy feel. 

Overall, I liked this book.  It was a bit repetitive and choppy, but it was certainly one of the more entertaining books that I've read in a long time. 

Happy Reading!!  And, I hope you get to read outside today!  It is absolutely gorgeous in Chicago and I've never been happier to be writing a blog post on my porch.

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