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Extended Audio Sample Escape Audiobook, by Carolyn Jessop Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.17739130434783 out of 54.17739130434783 out of 54.17739130434783 out of 54.17739130434783 out of 54.17739130434783 out of 5 4.18 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Carolyn Jessop, Laura Palmer Narrator: Ann Marie Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781415942406
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The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect and one woman’s courageous flight to freedom with her eight children.

When she was eighteen years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger: a man thirty-two years her senior. Merril Jessop already had three wives. But arranged plural marriages were an integral part of Carolyn’s heritage: She was born into and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the radical offshoot of the Mormon Church that had settled in small communities along the Arizona-Utah border. Over the next fifteen years, Carolyn had eight children and withstood her husband’s psychological abuse and the watchful eyes of his other wives who were locked in a constant battle for supremacy.

Carolyn’s every move was dictated by her husband’s whims. He decided where she lived and how her children would be treated. He controlled the money she earned as a school teacher. He chose when they had sex; Carolyn could only refuse—at her peril. For in the FLDS, a wife’s compliance with her husband determined how much status both she and her children held in the family. Carolyn was miserable for years and wanted out, but she knew that if she tried to leave and got caught, her children would be taken away from her. No woman in the country had ever escaped from the FLDS and managed to get her children out, too. But in 2003, Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children. She had $20 to her name.

Escape exposes a world tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics who, in the name of God, deprive their followers the right to make choices, force women to become completely subservient to men, and brainwash children in church-run schools. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop’s flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. Not only did she manage a daring escape from a brutal environment, she became the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the FLDS. And in 2006, her reports to the Utah attorney general on church abuses formed a crucial part of the case that led to the arrest of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.

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Quotes & Awards

  • "Escape provides an astonishing look behind the tightly drawn curtains of the FLDS Church, one of the most secretive religious groups in the United States. The story Carolyn Jessop tells is so weird and shocking that one hesitates to believe a sect like this, with 10,000 polygamous followers, could really exist in 21st-century America. But Jessop’s courageous, heart-wrenching account is absolutely factual. This riveting book reminds us that truth can indeed be much, much stranger than fiction. Jon Krakauer, Author of Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bukumia | 4/2/2017

    " As someone who has ditched all religions, I continue to be fascinated by the power of religious indoctrination, and how it can infect even seemingly intelligent individuals and cause them to fall prey to absurdities. Having read about Carolyn Jessop and having watched a number of YouTube videos featuring her lectures and interviews, I finally took the plunge and read "Escape". I wasn't prepared for how compelling it would be and couldn't tear myself away from it! Fortunately, being an audio book, it meant I could get on with chores while having the story read to me. Without reservations, I recommend this book to anyone with insurmountable problems, wondering how they could possibly transcend their situation. The hurdles Carolyn had to overcome are unimaginable to the average person leading a "regular" life where such a thing as "free-will" exists and where you are not condemned for hugging and kissing your own children. By the end of the book, you just want Carolyn to have a "happy ever after" life with her family. I certainly do. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lawn | 2/10/2014

    " i loved reading about what happened before and during warren jeffs "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bridget Hanson | 1/26/2014

    " I am endlessly fascinated by the crazy stories of the FLDS. This book is a must read if you are too. It's perhaps not written/edited the best, but intriguing nonetheless. Prepare for some depressing shit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily Flores | 1/26/2014

    " More like 4.5 stars, mainly because I am OBSESSED with anything to do with the FLDS. It was not the best written book, but the subject matter itself was what kept me hooked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cetta Hartman | 1/25/2014

    " Another FLDS story. I don't know how she had the strength, but this author got out with 8 children. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzie Quint | 1/17/2014

    " A more intimate view of FLDS and the evils of polygamy than "Under the Banner of Heaven." Though it is well worth reading Carolyn Jessop's story as an example of courage and determination, I hope people also begin to get an understanding of how overwhelming this type of brainwashing is. You cannot convince most people who've lived with this sort of thing that there's another way to see the world. Even Carloyn Jessop, intelligent, college-educated, and with her exposure to people from "outside" who were kinder to her than her own "family" could not conceive of leaving the world she was raised in until her situation deteriorated to the point that even she saw her life was in danger and that her daughters would be married off to men 40, 50, or even 60 years their senior. That she spent so many years living with the abuse she did is not the true tragedy here; it's that so few women in her world can even imagine wanting to escape. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin | 1/13/2014

    " I enjoyed this book waaayyy more than I expected - couldn't put it down. Fascinating look at growing up in FLDS culture and being married off into a family where there are 4 wifes and you're the only person who doesn't seem to have lost their mind. The level of sadistic child abuse within her family was pretty shocking though - beyond forced marriages. Why have 14 kids each if you seem to hate their guts? Tore through this in two days. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clara S. | 1/9/2014

    " Brilliant! She is such an amazing woman:-) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley Medley | 1/3/2014

    " This was a FASCINATING story, but poorly written. Still, I recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dorothy | 12/24/2013

    " Carolyn Jessop is absolutely amazing. So glad she was sucessful at escaping this. What an awful thing to be born into. Just hope she has a good life after all she went through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ingrid Richardson | 12/23/2013

    " I was keen to read this book after reading Stolen Innocence, and was not disappointed. Although the storyline was similar in many parts due to the similar circumstances of these two women, however, I found it gripping and a good read all the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill Short | 12/15/2013

    " Powerful insight into a strong woman who escaped from the fundamental Mormon faith "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marc | 12/12/2013

    " Very good, but very frustrating and maddening at times to think that people still live like this with these beliefs today... eye opener. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb Filkins | 11/28/2013

    " Read this a long time ago when it came out. Not written perfectly but really let you know how it is out there. I would reread it again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 r.b. | 6/3/2012

    " A fascinating and moving memoir, this is a must for anyone interested in the workings of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. I did feel that there were a lot of places where the narrative felt repetitive or rambled on in too much detail, but that didn't stop it from being difficult to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 2/14/2012

    " I truly enjoyed this book. It was about a women who escaped a Mormon marriage and took eight kids with her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy Larson | 1/27/2012

    " Very good book but yet so sad to think that this goes on in our world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 4/3/2011

    " I have a friend who has met this woman and he said that she is every bit the strong and independent woman you perceive her to be in the book. Amazing story of endurance and fighting for your freedom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather Brown | 6/10/2010

    " A good look into the life of a polygamist family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JanB | 12/8/2009

    " This book was fascinating and horrifying all at the same time. Carolyn is an amazing and courageous woman and I wish her and her children all the best in life. How tragic that women are living under these conditions in modern day America, and all in the name of some twisted version of religion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Readingmomma | 7/6/2009

    " Such a wonderful book. What a brave, brave, brave woman. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jolie Masterson | 5/17/2009

    " Fascinating. Sometimes in the I-can't-not-look-at-it way. Was my absolute favorite book for some time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Petra | 5/5/2008

    " Powerful story of survival. Amazing that Carolyn Jessop got away from the FLDS and made a life for herself and her children. She suffered years of abuse as well as her children. "

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About the Author
Author Carolyn Jessop

Carolyn Jessop was born in 1968 and raised in the largest community of the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints in the United States. She spent seventeen years in a polygamous marriage to one of the most powerful men in the FLDS community, before escaping. She lives in Utah with her children.

About the Narrator

Ann Marie Lee is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She is a Los Angeles–based actress with television credits that include ER, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Nip/Tuck. Her stage performances for Broadway National Tours and regional theater include Peter Pan, As You Like It, Heartbreak House, and The Cherry Orchard.