Escape by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer

818811Nonfiction — print. Broadway, 2007. 413 pgs. Library copy.

Born into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), Carolyn Jessop became the fourth wife of a  fifty-five year old man at the age of eighteen. Hoping to continue her education through college, Jessop ended up having eight children in fifteen years until the rise of Warren Jeffs within the cult. Trapped in an abusive relationship and in a cult where the leader began preaching the apocalypse after September 11, 2001, Jessop decided she had to save herself and her children by getting out of Colorado City.

I found Jessop’s memoir to be one of the most well-written, inclusive memoirs about a fundamentalist Mormon sect I’ve ever read. The evolution over time of what was allowed and what wasn’t was really interesting, and therefore did a wonderful job of exposing how horrible Warren Jeffs was to the FLDS and its members. No other nonfiction book or memoir has given a clear explanation of Jeffs’ atrocities.

She gives great details of the FLDS community and of the strange, horrible day-to-day life that comes with living in a polygamous household. The memoir gives wonderful insight to not only a fanatical way of life, but also how interspersed the group is across the United States; it’s easy to think the FLDS is only located in Colorado City/Hildale rather than from Canada to Salt Lake City to Texas. The dynamics between her and her eldest daughter, which weren’t covered until the last twenty or so pages, was especially interesting simply because it exposed the effect propaganda and fear can have on a person’s psyche. He life in the FLDS and her eventually escape make for an interesting, and important, read.

Others’ Thoughts:


  1. I’ve seen a lot of reviews about this book on the blogispehere but none have made me want to read this book until yours. I’m definitely adding this to my TBR list. Thanks for writing such a great review.


  2. This book really touched me. When Carolyn Jessop escaped and moved to the SLC area, she actually lived just two streets down from me but a couple of years before I moved in. We read this for our neighborhood book club and several members remember having met her or having her children in with their kids classes at school. Really brought an extra dimension to the discussion.


    • That would be great food for your discussion, Natasha. Greg Mortenson lives four streets up from me, but he’s (a) never home and (b) an incredibly private person.


Please feel free to share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: