Kate's Reviews > Jesus Land

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
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's review
Jul 28, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: biography, books-addressing-human-frailty, great-books-nobody-ever-read, race-stuff
Read in July, 2012

Wow. I could not put this book down. Julia Scheeres writes of the horrendous adolescence that she and her adopted African American brothers suffer at the hands of, first, her strict and disturbed Midwestern Calvinist parents and then, at the hands of an overseas "Christian reform school" to which her parents ship her and one of her brothers. The courage of Julia and her brother just pours off every page as they try to survive together against all odds.

The book lays bare the bizarre nature of fundamentalist Christianity--obsessed with those things it purports to deny--death and sex. I know this is accurate, because I have more than a small dose of fundamentalism in my background, and I actually worked with a teenager who was also victimized by a "Christian reform school" in the Dominican Republic. Maybe the same one? Who knows? The girl I knew came home as just a shadow of her former self. I can only hope she wasn't broken forever. Julias' story is beautiful and tragic and very, very real. She gets the little fundamentalist details of the 80's just right (all that Sandy Patti, Keith Green, and Amy Grant. Blech!!). These little details bring to life the bigness of what she has to say about her experience. I have nothing but admiration for anyone who can survive as she did--even thrive--in spite of all that went on in her young life. In fact, it is a testament to her loving connection with her brother, David, that she went on to succeed.

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