Book Review: Escape – Carolyn Jessop [TSS]

Title: Escape
Author: Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer
ISBN: 9780767927574
Pages: 448
Release Date: October 16, 2007
Publisher: Broadway
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Carolyn Jessop was born into the FLDS, or Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She recounts her upbringing, the emotional and physical abuse she witnessed, and her desire, above all, to get an education and become a doctor.  At the age of 18, Carolyn was  married to 50 year old Merril Jessop, a leader in the FLDS community.  Carolyn discusses her 17 year marriage, the abuse she and her children suffered at the hands of her sister wives, and her eventual flight from the FLDS.

Review:

I’ve read a lot of novels about polygamy, but I never actually tackled a memoir.  I knew they were out there, but I wasn’t sure I could handle the horrors such a book would contain.  When I noticed that my library had Escape by Carolyn Jessop available for download on audio, I thought that sounded like a good way to digest the book.  I was right – audio was the perfect format for this heartwrenching and astonishing memoir.

Escape was very difficult to listen to.  I couldn’t have it playing when my husband was around, because the few times it was, he would get incredibly angry at the abuse he was listening to.  There were times I had to shut it off, just to have some time to absorb what I was hearing.  While I knew about the abuse that went on in these polygamous communities from the fiction I’d read, it was still so jarring to hear it in a memoir.  While I loved the audio production, I wonder if that made it that much harder – I came to think of the narrator, Ann Marie Lee, as Carolyn.  It seemed like Carolyn was sitting there, telling me what she had experienced.  It made it very personal.

That being said, I’m very glad I chose to listen to it on audio.  It helped me to really grasp what was going on, and Ann Marie Lee was an excellent narrator.  She conveyed emotion incredibly well, and her voice actually evolves as the story progresses.  She is naive and scared at the beginning, and gradually gains confidence through the listen. Additionally, Carolyn tends to repeat some of the basic FLDS information, and I’m not sure if that would have been frustrating in print.  It worked fine in audio.  The running time is almost 16 hours and it was unabridged.

I don’t want to turn people off from Escape – it was an extremely powerful read.  While I can’t say I enjoyed it because of the difficult subject matter, I’m so glad I read it.  I was always making excuses to listen more, choosing to clean rather than sit down and read a book, just so I could listen for longer.  Carolyn’s resilience and strength were awe-inspiring, and I really admired her honesty and frankness.  This is one of those books I think everyone should read, just because it’s so eye opening.  Carolyn Jessop has a second memoir out, Triumph: Life After The Cult – A Survivor’s Lessons and I will definitely be listening to that on audio as well.  This was an incredible read, and despite the fact that it was difficult on audio, I’m so glad I chose that format.

Comments

  1. You are absolutely right, audios are the perfect way to listen to memoirs. I’ve read 90% of my memoirs through this media, and it works because it does feel like the person is personally telling you their story. And for some reason, I would have no issues reading a tough memoir like this, but probably would not attempt a fictional account of the same thing. If I have to deal with a dark topic, I want it to be real.

  2. You are absolutely right, audios are the perfect way to listen to memoirs. I’ve read 90% of my memoirs through this media, and it works because it does feel like the person is personally telling you their story. And for some reason, I would have no issues reading a tough memoir like this, but probably would not attempt a fictional account of the same thing. If I have to deal with a dark topic, I want it to be real.

  3. I thought this was an excellent memoir, too. I’m interested in her latest and look forward to reading your thoughts.

  4. I thought this was an excellent memoir, too. I’m interested in her latest and look forward to reading your thoughts.

  5. I read this book in my pre-blogging days when I went through a polygamist phase. I think Carl was so glad when I got over that phase because I drove him crazy talking about it.

  6. I read this book in my pre-blogging days when I went through a polygamist phase. I think Carl was so glad when I got over that phase because I drove him crazy talking about it.

  7. I read this one right when I first started blogging. I enjoyed it if that’s the right word. Unbelievable story!

  8. I read this one right when I first started blogging. I enjoyed it if that’s the right word. Unbelievable story!

  9. I actually found this to be the weakest of the “polygamy memoirs” I read a while back – “Stolen Innocence” by Elissa Wall was much more powerful for me.

  10. I actually found this to be the weakest of the “polygamy memoirs” I read a while back – “Stolen Innocence” by Elissa Wall was much more powerful for me.

  11. I’m so glad that you got so much out of this book. It was so powerful. Stolen Innocence is another good one that looks at the FLDS.

  12. I’m so glad that you got so much out of this book. It was so powerful. Stolen Innocence is another good one that looks at the FLDS.

  13. I have this book, as well as “Stolen Innocence”, on my to-be-read shelf. Both in print. Thanks for your thoughts. I really want to read it now.

    Also, thanks for letting me know about the follow-up book. I’ll have to put that one on my if-I-like-the-first-book-wishlist.

  14. I have this book, as well as “Stolen Innocence”, on my to-be-read shelf. Both in print. Thanks for your thoughts. I really want to read it now.

    Also, thanks for letting me know about the follow-up book. I’ll have to put that one on my if-I-like-the-first-book-wishlist.

  15. I read this a few years ago, and while I had difficulty with the prose from time to time, the subject matter was so heart-wrenching, frustrating, and important, I still enjoyed reading it.

  16. I read this a few years ago, and while I had difficulty with the prose from time to time, the subject matter was so heart-wrenching, frustrating, and important, I still enjoyed reading it.

  17. I have been reading a lot of fictional treatments of polygamy lately, but this memoir sounds like it would be really eye opening and amazing. I am going to have to add this to my list. Thanks for the excellent review, I am definitely going to be reading this one!!

  18. I have been reading a lot of fictional treatments of polygamy lately, but this memoir sounds like it would be really eye opening and amazing. I am going to have to add this to my list. Thanks for the excellent review, I am definitely going to be reading this one!!

  19. I’ve had this on my bookshelf for a couple of years and I keep meaning to read it but I haven’t had the courage to pick it up yet. I should def. bite the bullet and get started, especially after reading your review 🙂

  20. I’ve had this on my bookshelf for a couple of years and I keep meaning to read it but I haven’t had the courage to pick it up yet. I should def. bite the bullet and get started, especially after reading your review 🙂

  21. I have this one in book form, but now I’m tempted to try it in audio instead.

  22. I have this one in book form, but now I’m tempted to try it in audio instead.

  23. I’ve read both Escape and Stolen Innocence and they were both very powerful novels. I highly recommend these books. I didn’t know about the follow up book, I will have to check it out.

  24. I’ve read both Escape and Stolen Innocence and they were both very powerful novels. I highly recommend these books. I didn’t know about the follow up book, I will have to check it out.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “While I can’t say I enjoyed it because of the difficult subject matter, I’m so glad I read it.” — S. Krishna’s Books […]

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->