Chris's Reviews > Jesus Land: A Memoir

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
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Jun 11, 2009

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Read in June, 2009

Just finishing this one up. I was drawn in because the main characters (do you call them characters when it's a memoir?) are a white girl and her black brother, who was adopted. Being the mom of an adopted daughter who is of a different race than my husband and I, I thought it might offer some interesting insight. It did, but in a horrible way. The family who adopted the boy, besides the author/ sister, does not seem to see him as a family member or their child at all, but rather as some sort of symbol of charity. Not at all like our experience or what we've seen in any adoptive family we've known. They also claim to be Christians but are absolutely only putting on a show. The book as a whole angered me... not because of the author, her writing or her perspectives, but because her parents embody every negative stereotype of who I am... a Christian and adoptive mother in a multiracial family. Of course it should go without saying that the treatment of the children in this family was totally unacceptable. This is not to say that the children themselves were perfect or made decisions I approved of in some cases, especially the author, but the way that these issues were handled by the adults in their world is horrifying. The book is very imformative but not likely to match the majority experience. Be forewarned... this book is not appropriate for kids due to the subject matter and there are a few parts that conservative adults may desire to skim over as well.

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message 1: by Dawn (last edited May 07, 2010 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dawn Some have indicated this book might be good as part of a school curriculum for teenagers. I am not inclined to agree due to the explicit bits, even thougha lot fo teenagers are quite "savvy" these days, but without parental consent I am not sure its a good book for teens to read at school do you?

message 2: by Chris (last edited May 07, 2010 03:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Chris I was an elementary school teacher, with the highest grade I taught being fifth, before the birth of my daughter and I don't think that I would use this in a classroom. Even for high schoolers, the range of maturity levels can be pretty broad. I think it would take a higher level of maturity than some teens posess to deal appropriately with the subject matter. In my opinion, this book could be used with some teens to start meaningful conversations but others may focus too much on the wrong aspects.

Dawn Thank you Chris, that is helpful and ties in with my views too. I think some pupils might benefit from it, but as you say it might send others the opposite way.

It's just that I think I upset the author by stating my views that I didn't think it was a book which should be used in high schools without parental consent, and I think she was annoyed with me for saying so. (Apparently a teacher in the States HAS used this book with kids and might lost his job - I don't think he should lose his job, but I did think he should have consulted parents about it).

However I feel bad about voicing my views over it now as I didn't intend to upset the author because she has had enough to put up with as it is, but I felt that I needed to point out that parts of the book could have a wrong effect for the very points you make above (some teens jsut aren't ready for that kind of thins). So I was interested to know whether it was just me and I am somewhat relieved that you too share similar views. Thanks for your reply.

Tesla That program in the Dominican Republic is NOT abusive. I was there, so trust me, I know. The staff there are wonderful and amazing and they love their students and truly want to help them. She just wanted to find a way to get attention.

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