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Jesus Land: A Memoir Paperback – November 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julia Scheeres has written for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, El Financiero, and Wired, and has twice been a finalist for journalism awards presented by the USC Annenberg School for Communication. She lives in Oakland, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582433542
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582433547
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Hammersley on October 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I can say with complete and total honesty that it must have taken Julia tremendous amount of courage to write this book. How can I say that? I was also in the school in the Dominican Republic. The horrors, the abuse. It's real. Though I do not know her personally, I know her story from the school all too well. I'm proud that she has taken a stand and shed light on this horrible place.
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Format: Paperback
This is a page-turning memoir that will stay with you long after the last words of the last pages are read. The author writes of her tragic childhood with unbelievably honest prose, resulting in a powerful memoir that leaves the reader speechless. This is a must-read story of family, race, religion, and the bonds of love that hold us all together.
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Julia Scheeres writes candidly, truthfully, and honestly about growing up in Indiana with two African American brothers who were adopted into a white family. She describes her mother's hypocrisy about serving God but not her family. Julia writes about her life as the blonde girl and her relationship with her brother, David, who was African American and adopted by the family. She describes in detail about the racism experience against her family especially her brothers.

But Julia's life is also complicated by her parents' zealous religious values and determination that their children follow the way of the Lord. Julia's mother is a religious fanatic and zealous without apology. She is also abusive towards her own children and also doesn't display signs of love or affection.

In reading this memoir, I began to understand Julia's point of view. She was driven to her behavior which landed her in a horrible concentration camp called Escuela Caribe or return to her parents' home. She chose the religious camp in the Dominican Republic because her brother, David, was already there and he couldn't warn her about it, escape or come home.

Once there, Julia's memoir comes alive with horrifying details of abuse, punishment, and a discipline style that reminds me of Jesus Camp but much worse. Everybody can rat each other out and gain points to move to the next level.

In conclusion, Julia has written a tribute to her beloved David, her brother. This book is about sibling relationships that became stronger even in the toughest of times. I would strongly recommend this book to anybody.

I would have just recommended that she added pictures or maps of the Escuela Caribe to help understand the layout if possible or even a map of Indiana as well.
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Format: Paperback
"Jesus Land" by Julia Scheeres is one of those rare books that one can read in a day, given enough free time. It is lucidly written, engaging, and very troubling. Fans of memoirs/biographies will likely enjoy "Jesus Land," though it reads like a novel, so fiction lovers will enjoy it as well.

"Jesus Land" is about Julia growing up in her Christian fundamentalist household in Indiana in the 70s and 80s, and particularly about the relationship she had with her adopted African-American brother, David. The first part of the book focuses on Julia's experiences at home, and the second part on her harrowing stay at Escuela Caribe, a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic.

David & Julia are the same age, and so begin high school together. Unfortunately, David is the subject of ceaseless racial taunting, and Julia must keep to herself during the school day to avoid being seen as "the black kid's sister." Yet still, she is seen as an outsider. At home, things are no better. The Scheeres adopted another African-American, Jerome, since they thought that David "would want to play with someone of his own color." Unfortunately, Jerome is highly aggressive, and gets into trouble frequently. The father of the family is abusive, and frequently beats David and Jerome, while Julia is simply scolded. This sets the 2 boys against the white sister. Jerome then begins sexually abusing Julia, perhaps as a way of getting back at the father. The mother is emotionally distant (if not hostile), and resents it whenever the children ask her for something beyond the minimum food, water, shelter, and church that she provides. At their hard-line Calvinist church, Lafayette Christian, they are told lots about sin and repentance, but very little about how to deal with the problems around them.
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By G. Leigh on December 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Julia Scheeres' memoir has easily become one of my absolute favorites. The reader should be warned: this book is incredibly painful to read and will leave the reader feeling rancorous for the entire Midwest, every religious fanatic and, inevitably, Julia Scheeres. However, above all else, this is a beautifully chronicled story of the unbreakable bond between her and David-- her brother and best friend-- that ends up being a truly rewarding and life-affirming experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Crying, crying, crying...for Julia...for David...for all the kids in the world who are mistreated, hurt, neglected, and unloved. It's a gut-wrenching tale of mental, physical and sexual abuse and racism. This story is moving beyond words...and although tragic, is mostly the story of the unbreakable bond of a brother and sister. Julia, inspired after finding David's notebook detailing stories from their childhood, wrote the memoir that he was no longer able to. I read this in 12 hours (minus a few hours to sleep...) and could not stop until I knew the rest of the story. May I always remember this book, showing my own children a little more love, affection, patience, understanding... remembering that many people only dream of experiencing a family's unselfish, unwavering and boundless love. Share your heart, give of your heart, and speak what's in your heart, nurturing, protecting and supporting our earthly treasures - our children.

`My name was too difficult for him. He followed me around chanting "Ju-la-la," and I called him "Baby Boo-Boo" because he was constantly tripping and falling and scraping his skin. I'd kiss away his pain and hush his cries.
He was my baby.'

`"If dumb was dirt, she'd cover about an acre," Susan whispers.'

`"Did Jerome sexually molest you?" he finally asks.
(After ignoring David in the following days, he slipped Julia a letter...)
Julia - I know that what happened is not your fault. Please don't feel bad. You are my big sister, and I will always look up to you, no matter what. Love, your cuddly little bro, Dave.
My heart uncrimps and I gaze up at the crescent moon and the stars and feel peace rain down on me in their soft light. David knows this about me. And he still calls me his big sister.
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