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Jesus Land: A Memoir Paperback – November 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
"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.Read more ›
`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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heartbreaking, triggering (if you grew up in a cult, or some iteration of semi-fundamentalist "Christianity gone wrong"), moving, and ultimately 1) a narrative of survival... Read morePublished 19 days ago by B.D.C.
I have read many books about the offshoot religions in this country but I must say , I never would have thought Calvinism was one of them. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Wendy Busby
Good book about what it was like for a young girl to grow up in a very religious family and also dealing with racism against her adopted African American brother and being sent to... Read morePublished 8 months ago by SouthernLove
Beautiful and heartbreaking memoir. I felt as if I could picture what was happening in the book as I read it.Published 9 months ago by Lindsey
Completely engrossing, heartbreaking, and clearly told. A book I looked forward to reading and didn't put it down until I couldn't keep my eyes open. An easy, quick read.Published 20 months ago by Kaitlyn Ratterman
Too bad their parents were close-minded and the camp was abusive.Published 22 months ago by stockqueen9
Both my wife and I read this with the same response. Julia Scheeres tells her story so well that you wish that you could meet her know her as a friend.Published 23 months ago by Kindle Customer
I chose this high rating because I see myself in this memoir. I put my so call Christianity before my children. We adopted a child who turned out to be schizophrenic. Read morePublished on May 16, 2014 by Kindle Customer Claudia McClaine