!Download Book ♴ Jesus Land ☽ For Julia Scheeres And Her Adopted Brother David, Jesus Land Stretched From Their Parents Fundamentalist Home, Past The Hostilities Of High School, And Deep Into A Christian Reform School In The Dominican Republic For These Two Teenagers Brother And Sister, Black And White The S Were A Trial By FireIn This Memoir, Scheeres Takes Us From The Familiar Midwest, A Land Of Cottonwood Trees And Trailer Parks, To A Place Beyond Her Imagining At Home, The Scheeres Kids Must Endure The Usual Trials Of Adolescence High School Hormones, Incessant Bullying, And The Deep Seated Restlessness Of Social Misfits Everywhere Under The Shadow Of Virulent Racism Neither Knows How To Contend With When They Start To Crack Or Fight Back , They Are Packed Off To Escuela Caribe This Brutal, Prison Like Christian Boot Camp Demands That Its Inhabitants Repent For Their Sins Sins That Few Of Them Are Aware Of Having Committed Julia And David S Determination To Make It Though With Heart And Soul Intact Is Told Here With Immediacy, Candor, Sparkling Humor, And Not An Ounce Of Malice Jesus Land Is, On Every Page, A Keenly Moving Ode To The Sustaining Power Of Love, And Rebellion, And The Dream Of A Perfect Family
Yeah, it was entertaining, the way a Lifetime movie is entertaining I read it in about three hours, and I m a slow reader Scheeres s writing is catchy, if a bit high falutin in parts I had to occasionally put this book down, roll my eyes, and laugh.Such dysfunction Every childhood abuse you can imagine is superficially touched upon here Scheeres was molested by her bad adopted black brother whereabouts unknown , Scheeres s dead, good, adopted black brother was beaten like a slave by her evil, abusive father a two dimensional character if ever there was one and tried to commit suicide, and her mother was mean and barely mentioned except that she gave money to missionaries, and once screenplay ly rapped upon a window when Scheeres and her brother were having picturesque fun spraying each other with a hose in their garden.All of this dysfunction made Scheeres become a teen alcoholic, a dependency she mentioned casually when it served to further her plot, but which wasn t mentioned once she went to Jesus camp.The town in which she lives is so xenophobic the prescence of two black boys is cause for bad bullies including authority figures like teachers to frequently abuse her and her good black brother but not the bad black brother, he was removed from the abuse because he was so abusive himself , yet Scheeres presented a veritable Rainbow Coalition of ethnic and religious minorities who attended her school, with which she of course befriended and even loved, because she s an underdog, too, and oh, so muchenlightened than anyone else who lived in her town Scheeres volunteered to go to some religious camp to which her evil parents sent her good, adopted black brother because her parents were evil like that, and she did a passable job describing it, but only because she has read many military and possibly Holocaust memoirs.It is impossible to verify any of the shit that Scheeres said happened in this concentration camp of a religious retreat, nor to verify any of the myriad of abuses she says happened to her before she went to the Jesus concentration camp It is impossible to verify any of the shit she said happened to her, ever.I can believe she had a black brother who died in a car accident I can believe she went to some Jesus camp That s all I can believe This isn t as made up a memoir as A Million Little Pieces , but it s at least as false as Running With Scissors. I think I m well positioned to review this book, because I grew up with Julia and David Scheeres More precisely, we all went to Lafayette Christian School through eighth grade Both Julia and David were in my brother s elementary school class, one year ahead of me Jerome, her older adopted brother, was in the class two years ahead of me Lafayette Christian figures heavily in the story, although the story itself takes place starting two years after graduation from that school.I can t decide quite what to make of Jesus Land It is a compelling memoir of sufferings undergone I can confirm certain gruesome external details about Julia s upbringing, so the criticisms comparing it to A Million Little Pieces and similar fabulist works are unfair, and I expect that her Escuela Caribe experience was pretty much just as she described it I knew David Scheeres, and he was an excellent kid with a great heart, just as he is described unlike his adoptive brother Jerome, whom I also knew, and who was a very bad actor even as a child.Without going into unnecessary detail, for example, I can confirm personally seeing either welts or scars at this remove, I cannot say which all across David s and Jerome s backs from whippings with some instrument This was not regarded as normal, but as Scheeres said, back then nobody would do anything about such things So while I never knew her parents personally, it seems to me entirely possible they were just as bad as she portrays Her father is apparently dead, though she does not mention it She does not mention what happened to Jerome, but a simple Google search suggests that at least in 2011 he was still living in the same geographic area, because he was arrested for marijuana possession But Jesus Land is undermined and worsened by numerous small factual inaccuracies, and frankly, fictions One could say that these are poetic license But they are not poetic Nor are they accidental Rather, they are all in the service of what is the book s prime vice, which is that it is written for, and only for, a specific audience and target market That market is leftist agnostics and atheists who have contempt not only for Christianity but for every person who lives in flyover country You see this in that Scheeres repeatedly notes she lives in Berkeley, in order to signal to the reader she is Not That Kind Of Person Only the Right Kind Of Person, of course, is invited onto NPR and other media outlets hence the continual dripping contempt for anyone not fitting the author s mold of A Desirable Person which apparently zero people in Indiana do.One possible response is So Leftist atheists need love, and books directed at them, too But the problem with small inaccuracies, or falsehoods, is that they undermine confidence in the rest of the narrative What also undermines and coarsens the book is the cardboard nature of everyone portrayed They all are grossly deficient in every way, and characterized as such with contemptuous adjectives Bus drivers are fat French teachers teach in a constipated voice The barrage of contempt is never ending and highly distracting It only lets up when the author talks about what is apparently the real Jesus Land, namely Berkeley Anyway, on the inaccuracies None are huge it s their cumulative effect and direction which undermine the narrative Most would not be visible tothan a few people alive today In particular, a very substantial percentage of the specific statements about Lafayette Christian are false Lafayette Christian was and is a Reformed, or Calvinist, school, as Scheeres notes What she does not note is that Reformed students were a minority the school had many different types of Christians welcomed and accepted as students, including Catholics such as me So here s a not exclusive list of further incorrect statements in the book 1 Until 1981 , we attended a Dutch Calvinist school as well, where all the kids were blonde and lanky like me I have in my hand a picture of the graduating class of David and Julia Scheeres and another of my class In the pictures, only four children have blonde hair Blonde hair was simply not the norm This would not matter, except it is an attempt to hide the actual diversity of the school and probably to vaguely imply Nazi type leanings.2 As to Jews, Scheeres says Jesus killers, we called them at Lafayette Christian This is frankly ludicrous I suppose it s possible that the we meant some children in private conversations But the phrasing is clearly meant to imply that s what the school authorities said and therefore endorsed Which is, as I say, ludicrous.3 At Lafayette Christian, there was no sex ed class This is false it is said in support of Everything I know about being female I learned from a Kotex box Sex ed was taught every two years to both boys and girls, separately It was taught to the 5th 6th graders and separately to the 7th 8th graders the advanced class My classes were exactly coterminous with Scheeres s, so I know they were offered Again, this is an attempt to paint the school as blinkered and dangerously parochial, which it most assuredly was not.4 On the first day of school, a high school math teachers responds to a girl identifying herself as Goldstein with Jew name, isn t it That is very, very unlikely Similarly unlikely is that a gravestone from the 19th Century spelled died as dyed Again these are simply fictions designed to make Indiana seem like a horrible place to be In fact, Scheeres specifically says My parents own state, Indiana, had once been a stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan, and was still a haven for backwater bigots She does not seem to know that the Indiana Klan was muchopposed to Catholics than black people, though 5 Scheeres bizarrely claims her mother, a surgeon s wife, initially feared if she touched her own black adopted baby, the black would rub off on her hands 6 Scheeres says that as a teenager, having just moved to the country actually, to a rural area only a few miles from my house on the edge of West Lafayette, a fairly cosmopolitan college town , she saw a series of plywood signs bear ing a hand scrawled message This consists of four signs, among them Rightchuss go to HEAVEN and The end is neer REPENT Maybe But I lived on the edge of that same countryside at the exact same time, and not only did I never see any billboards advising people to repent which do crop up sometimes in Indiana , but I never saw any type of hand made sign And, what shows this to be false most of all, is the mis spelling People in Indiana can spell just fine But that would not advance the author s narrative Much of the flavor of the book paints Indiana as a hybrid of a KKK rally and a liberal s Facebook feed about WalMart, crudely designed to play to the prejudices of Scheeres Berkeley NPR crowd.7 I think it highly unlikely that racism was ubiquitous as portrayed in the environments in which David Scheeres was raised For example, much is made of supposed racism of children in the Kingston pool which was in West Lafayette, not the country I spent much of several summers there, and I remember David playing there frequently as well they lived close to the pool at that time I don t remember any racist comments And Lafayette Christian did not tolerate racism they were, in fact, appalled at the Dutch Afrikaans behavior in South Africa, because they felt they were tarred with that brush as Dutch co religionists There was one family at the school with two boys, one in my class, which was openly racist, but the children had to tell their racist jokes in hushed tones, like dirty jokes, because they knew they would be severely punished if the teachers found out.Finally, the book takes lots of actual poetic license, too, which leads to anachronisms Jolt Cola was first marketed in 1985, but she refers to it as existing in 1983 1984 A scene where racist kids at the Kingston pool only leave David alone when a minivan arrives must take place prior to 1981, but the first minivan was sold in 1984 And so on Again, not a huge deal, but when it undermines confidence in the book for readers even though, as I say, I think all the key elements of author s personal story in the book are almost certainly accurate.Every author has to choose an audience The tragedy is that by her secondary choices, Scheeres targeted this book to people who already thought Christians were stupid, evil, bigots or all three, and doubtless succeeded in reinforcing those views Scheeres also appears to have been instrumental in the closure of Escuela Caribe, though, so the book does appear to have had some other beneficial impact A better choice would have been to write a less vitriolic book, targeted to a broader,open minded audience than Berkeley drones, that could have been read by average, normal people all over the country even in barbaric Indiana as a guide to what not to do. I cried when I read the last line of Julia Scheeres tragic and touching memoir Scheeres sucked me into her life and I couldn t put the book down for a second My blood boiled at several points through out the book Is it truly possible that people can be so heartless and cruel Is it truly possible that while I was living a carefree childhood, Scheeres who is only two years older than me was living in a private hell Jesus Land reads like a well paced, well written novel but I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn t fiction this really happened Jesus Land touches on many different universal themes of Scheeres life from religious zealousness to blatant racism to misogyny and sexual abuse It s also a testament to the human spirit and the power of forged relationships The ties of family not necessarily has to be linked by blood Anyone, whether you re black or white, male or female, young or old, gay or straight can glean something from this touching, heartfelt and honest memoir Coming from a fairly religious family myself, I can truly relate with the damage that can be done to individuals and families all in the name of Jesus. NO SPOILERS Heartbreaking, shocking, touching, angering This book is these things andLike The Glass Castle A Memoir, Jesus Land is a memoir of an imperfect to put it mildly childhood This riveting account opens with Julia Scheeres as a desperate sixteen year old She recounts incidents from her younger years in plentiful flashbacks replete with vivid and heart rending detail The memoir s strength lies in Scheeres s ability to make her young self and her twin adopted brother, David, come to life Quite impressively, this is told in Scheeres s voice, but David s personality seems just as complete and three dimensional as Scheeres s She and her brother suffer in unspeakable ways, and readers feel each devastation and each injustice acutely She couldn t have accomplished this with a cardboard rendering of this twin she loves to her very core Their bond is truly remarkable and heart warming and almost hard to believe To be touched by the connection these two share is to feel better about humanity as a whole On the general technical level, Scheeres s memoir needed some tweaking A noticeable tone change slices the story into a distinct first and second half Throughout this first half, Scheeres recounted occurrences with a certain emotional detachment while still stirring up plenty of emotion What Scheeres presented is deeply unsettling and sad, but readers are allowed to feel those things on their own During the second half, though, Scheeres s bitterness sneaked in Her hatred for her reform school is palpable Certainly, this is understandable however, in the interest of consistency, the tone should have maintained its neutrality In some ways an aloof recounting ispowerful it lends the writing a certain sophistication The first half is stronger than the second for this reason The best memoirs are true tell alls, and Scheeres spared no details nevertheless, she did run into some problems making judgment calls as to what was appropriate and inappropriate to include Although her intimate writing style is one of her memoir s strengths, she veered toward the gratuitous at least one time These instances stand out starkly and detract from an otherwise mature recounting Admittedly, memoir writing can be tricky, as the author has to decide what makes sense to expose to the world in the name of authenticity A twist in the memoir s final pages upends the story and confirms the adage that in many ways truth is stranger than fiction Truth also can be worldsdevastating Final verdict Four stars and an enthusiastic recommendation to fans of The Glass Castle. As posted in Oh My Goodness Julia writes this honest memoir of her Christian childhood However, the Christian family is nothing but a facade to impress the members of the local Calvinist church Julia s mom is obsessed with missionaries and constantly plays Christian music Her eyes is like those of a hawk, always watching the kidsand spying with the intercom as well Julia s surgeon father is worse He s the one that beats Julia s adopted Black father with 2x4 s until they re covered with welts or get broken bones Julia feels guilty but cannot do anything So, instead, she turns to alcohol and sex While I ve never suffered physical abuse, I was familiar with many aspects of Christian living Such are constant Christian music playing, Christian adages, Scripture throwing and memorizing, letter writing to missionaries, church attendance and manyHowever, Julia didn t write the memoir about her perfect Christian childhood She wrote about the dark horrors she and her brothers suffered throughin the name of Christianity And if that wasn t bad, things become worse when David and Julia are sent to the Dominican Republic to a Christian reform school In an eerie way, it reminded me of a Bible college I once attended for a semester Gut wrenching Appalling Unbelieveable Despite the horrors of Christianity s dark secrets and hypocrisy, Julia s memoirs was an interesting read At the end is an interview with Julia. I was told not to focus on the cover, that this book was not about religion The person who told me so, was correct The book was about what people do in the name of religion It was also about bigotry and racism This book is a Memior, written by a woman who s strictly devout Midwestern Calvinist white parents adopted two young black boys to raise with their 4 children The woman of the story is three years old at the time, the same age as the youngest black boy The story is told in the voice of the young girl from the age of 16 and 17, with flash backs to times during the years they were growing up This book is a tradgity, in every sense of the word The parents are extreme, the physical punishments by the father are extreme, and then, if that is not enough, the boy and girl are both sent to a Religious reform school in the Dominican Republic Everything is extreme there There is no happy ending, except that the story is told The author took half of her life time to tell it, in memory of her brother. 3.5 This is a memoir of growing up with parents who adhered to a religious fundamentalism but who were abusive to their children Scheeres was the youngest child in the family, and the last biological child born to her parents, who subsequently adopted two African American boys David, was practically Julia s twin, with only a month or so difference in their birthdates They grew up as brother and sister, and shared dreams of one day growing up and moving to Florida together When David and Julia were teens, they rebelled against their strict upbringing with the result that their parents sent them to a school in the Dominican Republic a sort of boot camp to get them right with Jesus The first half of the book details their childhood and early school experiences The racial prejudice aimed at David, and from which Julia tried to protect her brother, with the result that she was also ostracized in their small midwestern town The second half of the book focuses on the time they spent at Escuela Caribe, and what they had to endure there to prove to the people running the school and to their parents that they deserved to return to their home in Indiana Their mother was clearly neglectful, ignoring the children s complaints of mistreatment at school, and barely providing them with food, shelter and clothing But their father He may have been a surgeon, but he was physically abusive, particularly to the adopted boys Why was he never prosecuted Yet the love she and David shared, the unbreakable bond of brother and sister, shine through Towards the end of their time at Escuela Caribe, she writes We are young, and we have our entire lives ahead of us Together, we have survived racism and religion Together, we are strong Together, we can do anything Life may not be fair, but when you have someone to believe in, life can be managed, and sometimes, even miraculous After everything else falls away, we shall remain brother and sister Family. Julia Scheeres s memoir is perhaps one of the most haunting, powerful memoirs I ve read She details the heart wrenching abuse she endured at the hands of her Christian family and the abusive reform school she attended with her adopted African American brother in the Dominican Republic Her tale of severe sexual, emotional, physical, and religious abuse highlights issues of power and domination that are sometimes present in the American church However, even as I wept for her and her brother while reading her story, I was drawn to hope, not to hatred Scheeres states that she is not a Christian and after reading her story, I certainly empathise with that decision and yet I myself was drawnto God as I ached for her and for the abuse she endured I ve not left a painful bookbroken for the author, and yet I ve not left a bookfilled with a sense of God s own weeping on our behalf both Julia s and mine. The events in this memoir are incredibly tragic, as is the approach to explaining them Overall, a compelling childhood presented in a childish way The relationship between David and Julia is heartbreaking A black adopted brother, the privileged white biological daughter that loves him It took me a long time to finish this book It was interesting enough, and well written, but there was something terribly offensive about it The author tried very hard to be casual about things that were obviously painful, which is something I tend to dislike in authors It was one of those I was down, fighting off a hangover and wondering if I was pregnant type reads I wish I could write a better review, but it just left me feeling incomplete.