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Escape | Carolyn Jessop | Review

“In a cult, you have two identities: your cult identity and your authentic self. Most of the time I operated from my cult identity, which was pliant, submissive and obedient. But when I was pushed to the point where it felt like my survival was at stake, my authentic self came to the fore." - Carolyn Jessop, Escape
When Carolyn Jessop was born and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). At the age of eighteen she was forced into a arranged marriage with a man who was thirty-two years older than her. Under the next years Carolyn had eight children with her husband and had to live through all kinds of different abuse from him and his other wives. Carolyn wanted to escape for years but couldn't find a way out. But in 2003 Carolyn fled with her children and Escape is her story about her life in FLDS and how she escaped.

Escape by Carolyn Jessop isn’t an easy book to review. I know... If you’ve read any of my previous reviews I’ve probably stated the same thing, but this time I’m serious. This book is really hard to review…

As always there are two aspects of why I like or dislike a book. It’s about the overall quality of the authors work or about my personal reading experience. I can really appreciate the authors writing style in a book but still feel like the book wasn’t more than average when it comes to my reading experience. With Escape it’s the other way around. I felt that the quality of the writing and language wasn't that good. It felt a bit simple and even a bit sloppy from time to time. But I still really enjoyed the book and I found it hard to put down. Enjoy might not be the right word because this is not a feel-good book in any way. To be honest, Escape is a pretty discouraging read. It might be heartbreaking, but it’s also an interesting story. I’ve always been intrigued by religious cults and Escape gave me some new insight to that world. But I’m also aware of the fact that this is Carolyn’s story and her perspective is the only perspective we get to hear in this book (and that’s all what this book is supposed to be). I’m not i saying that I don’t believe in Carolyn's story but I think that you always have to be aware of the fact that there are many sides to every story.

Overall I have to say that I found Escape to be an interesting and intruding read. It was hard to put down and it made me interested in learning more about FLDS and other religious cults. It was an exciting (yet heartbreaking) read that made me feel so many different emotions. I felt sad and angry (really angry) but also happy and hopeful. Even if this might not be the most well written book out there I do really recommend it to everyone who’s intrigued by religious cults or are interested in these subjects.

I always think it’s harder to rate a nonfiction book because it's really more about interest in the subject than anything else. It’s extra difficult to rate a book that tells someone’s life-story especially when it is such a touching story as Carolyn’s. It's truly an interesting and intense read, but it could have been a bit more well written. So I give the Escape by Carolyn Jessop 3, 5/5 stars.

This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.

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