After I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I went to a completely
different kind of book. Escape, by Carolyn Jessop tells the true
story of the author's escape from the religious extremism of the
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
(FLDS) and the oppression of living in an abusive polygamous
marriage. This was a look into a world that I could not have
even imagined. It was so bizarre and so unbelievable that I
would audibly gasp! I think Mike got tired of me constantly
saying, "Oh my gosh, you won't believe this...."
It was that kind of emotion that kept me up until one o'clock
in the morning several mornings in a row because I just
couldn't stop reading. The book begins by Carolyn Jessop
going back in time, retelling her family history and her own
upbringing in the FLDS compound in Colorado City, Arizona.
When Carolyn was eighteen, she was forced into becoming
the fourth wife of a fifty year old leader in the community named
Merril Jessop. Even though she was deeply upset about
marrying a man so much older, she was powerless to do anything
about it. She stayed in the marriage for many years, giving birth
to eight of Merril's fifty-three children. Her descriptions of living
in an extremely unhealthy and abusive marriage were
heart-wrenching. Eventually Carolyn planned and executed
a successful escape and managed to become the first FLDS
woman to win custody of her own children.
It was a difficult and unbelievable road for her to travel, and it
made for a fascinating read!