When I read or watch TV, I'm a quiet, calm person. You won't hear me yelling at the TV or breathing a sigh of relief when an ill-fated situation goes well. But this memoir was so shocking that my mouth was dry, so troubling that I audibly agonized over the futures of people I'll never meet.
Carolyn Jessop was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a secretive and insular sect that became synonymous with underage marriage and polygamy. Under the leadership of self-proclaimed prophet Warren Jeffs, the sect became increasingly controlling. Dogs were killed, children bullied, racism preached. Based on the whims of the prophet, teenagers as young as 12 years old were married off to men as old as 80 - 90 years old.
Jessop was one of those young girls, married to a 50-year-old man when she was just 18. Carolyn was the constant object of psychological, sexual, and physical abuse, living under the same roof as five other wives, dozens of children, and a man she could never love or respect.
Her tragic and triumphant memoir details the suffering she and her children endured - from both her husband and the FLDS at large - as well as her awe-inspiring escape.
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Recommended by Leah Youse