Jesus Land: A Memoir

Julia Scheeres, Author . Counterpoint $23 (356p) ISBN 978-1-58243-338-7

Journalist Scheeres offers a frank and compelling portrait of growing up as a white girl with two adopted black brothers in 1970s rural Indiana, and of her later stay with one of them at a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic. The book takes its title from a homemade sign that Scheeres and the brother closest to her in age and temperament, David, spot one day on a road in the Hoosier countryside, proclaiming, "This here is: JESUS LAND." And while religion is omnipresent both at their school and in the home of their devout parents, the two rarely find themselves the beneficiaries of anything resembling Christian love. One of the elements that make Scheeres's book so successful is her distanced, uncritical tone in relaying deeply personal and clearly painful events from her life. She powerfully renders episodes like her attempted rape at the hands of three boys, the harsh beatings administered to David by her father and the ceaseless racial taunting by schoolmates; her lack of perceivable malice or vindictiveness prevents readers from feeling coerced into sympathy. The same can be said for Scheeres's description of their Dominican school, where humiliation and physical punishment are meant to redeem the allegedly misguided pupils. Tinged with sadness yet pervaded by a sense of triumph, Scheeres's book is a crisply written and earnest examination of the meaning of family and Christian values, and announces the author as a writer to watch. Agent, Sam Stoloff . (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 978-1-58243-955-6
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-282-46919-8
Paperback - 363 pages - 978-1-58243-354-7
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-09-179711-9
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-1-61902-065-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-61902-134-1
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