Escape by Carolyn Jessop
Merril Jessop surrounded by his wives. He went on to marry several more women and father many children.
I picked up Escape by Carolyn Jessop not sure of what to expect. I didn't know anything about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before reading this harrowing story of a life marked by repeated abuse, violence and fear. A while back I read that Katherine Heigl had optioned the book for film, intending to play Carolyn Jessop. I love when books are made into movies and if done right, this could be an Oscar winner.
I began reading Escape and within a day I was so wrapped up in Carolyn's memoir that I didn't want it to end. Thank goodness I knew the outcome or I would have had to read the ending halfway through the book. How anyone could live through what Carolyn did is nothing short of amazing and shows how tough the human spirit can be.
Born into a polygamous family, eighteen year old Carolyn was married off to Merril Jessop, a man thirty two years her senior already married to three women. For the next seventeen years Carolyn endured Merril's abuse and abuse from his wife Barbara. Having eight children in fifteen years, Carolyn often would use sex as a way to receive preferential treatment from Merril. He frequently lorded his power over his wives and children and if Carolyn or the other wives dared to have a thought of their own that wasn't in accordance with Merril, they were accused of being rebellious and would receive a punishment. Believe me when I tell you there is much more to this way of life than what I can describe here.
The life that Carolyn led was nothing short of unbelievable. If you're born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brought up on their doctrines, then you know no differently. My heart breaks for the emotionally abused women who will never know freedom of choice, who won't fall in love or get a good education.
After years of fear and intimidation, living without happiness, joy or affection, Carolyn fled with her children and after quite a battle, ultimately won custody of her children. But the road to her freedom was long, tough and scary.
I highly recommend this book. I was sad to see it end but thrilled that Carolyn is living a life where she can exercise her own free will and afford her children every comfort we often take for granted.
Next on my list of books to read is Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall. And then I am on to some happy stories! Click here to read a piece of Carolyn's book and below is a youtube clip of her.