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Jesus Land: A Memoir de Julia Scheeres
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Jesus Land: A Memoir (2005 original; edició 2006)

de Julia Scheeres

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,3365110,385 (3.88)49
Julia and her adopted brother, David, are sixteen-years-old. Julia is white. David is black. It is the mid-1980s and their family has just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees, trailer parks, and an all-encompassing racism. At home are a distant mother--more involved with her church's missionaries than her own children--and a violent father. In this riveting and heartrending memoir Julia Scheeres takes us from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining: surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe--a religious reform school in the Dominican Republic--is characterized by a disciplinary regime that extracts repentance from its students by any means necessary. Julia and David strive to make it through these ordeals and their tale is relayed here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and wry humor.… (més)
Membre:aleshel
Títol:Jesus Land: A Memoir
Autors:Julia Scheeres
Informació:Counterpoint (2006), Paperback, 384 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:Memoir, Biography, Race Relations, Cultural Studies, Fundamentalist Religion, Family Dysfunction, Non-fiction

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Jesus Land: A Memoir de Julia Scheeres (2005)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 51 (següent | mostra-les totes)
the writing here is really excellent and this story is an important one to tell. she tells it really well; i'm impressed by her writing.

i am super uncomfortable with parts of this book that equate the white author's lived experience with that of her black adopted brother. she says things like "we are black" and while i don't discount the bullying and ostracizing she surely faced for her close relationship with her black brother, it certainly isn't the same as what he endured. not in society, not in her community, not in her school, not in her church, not in her family. i know she does this to show us how close they were, and i don't doubt that they were, that maybe even she was david's only lifeline (limp as it was) in all of those places. and that because she did choose david over those things (usually, except in high school), that she suffered, too. i'm not saying she didn't. i just don't think she could ever understand how his blackness felt and was used against him, especially as they so studiously avoided any real discussion of race or of their parents and what the hell was happening there. (what was happening is that her "christian" parents adopted 2 black boys so they could look righteous and holy but abused them physically and emotionally and made a terrible life for them.)

i am so disgusted with these so-called christians who use religion as a shield to hide such awfulness in behavior and character. i'm sure other religions have people like this, and atheists and agnostics as well, but it seems so overwhelmingly christian to claim belief in god and goodness and then to brutally abuse people - children, most especially - in the name of that belief. it's so ugly and gross and i hate it so fucking much. i appreciate, in fiction, when it's the christians who are hypocrites, but in nonfiction like this, it just makes me want to be a vigilante and turn violent. but none of that is about this book specifically. so: the parents in this book are bad enough, and then the christian reform school they are sent to was so over-the-top i would think it was unbelievable if this was fiction. (and i looked up the place. there are other books written and a documentary about the abuses that took place there.) in spite of that, i raged at the very end of the book when the author says that she thinks the worst injustices that david was victim to had occurred at this place. her worst injustices may have been there (and maybe not; i'm not here to rank her sufferings) but david's were so clearly in her own family that rejected and used him for the 14 years of his life before being sent to that place. to almost completely ignore this abuse (except for the time her dad broke david's arm) shows she either never really understood him or perhaps wasn't emotionally willing to delve into that or to risk further fracturing whatever relationship she has left with her family. but it's tone-deaf to make the statement she did. and it shows what is missing from this book: a real excavation of what her parents did to him - and yes, even to jerome, in spite of (or maybe because of) who he became - and the misery they made him live with. she may have been david's only light, but she never shone that light on any of the real issues that he was dealing with, and it seems like she still isn't willing to do that where her family is concerned.

when she tells her own story is when this book is strongest, for me. because i can overlook the assumptions she makes that she can tell us about david in a way that i just don't believe she can. but she can tell us what she felt and went through, and what she thought of growing up with david and jerome and the small town and religion and abuse and so forth. her story weaves in with david's, and that's when this book really resonates. david's story is told through hers, and if she had left off the proclamations about him and his life, and left us to make our own conclusions, this would be an even stronger book, and my main issue with it would probably not exist.

even with this huge (to me) problem, this book is still pretty incredible. maybe it shows my own privilege or whiteness or something to be able to still rate a book this highly in spite of this issue. (i'm also surprised and disappointed that she used the words "gypped" and "retarded" when neither were at all necessary.) without these things, i'd probably be rating this book 4.5 stars for the writing alone. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Sep 20, 2020 |
Memories can be tricky, but if even half this book is accurate, people should have gone to prison. A “Christian” couple adopts a couple of Black kids because it's the Godly thing to do. And that is where the true Christianity ends, but not the self-righteous piety. A biological child of the couple (the author, Julia Scheeres) and the younger adopted child become such good friends, in this together, but occasionally betraying each other. There is lots of violence and abuse, including sexual abuse, and no parental love. The older adopted child, Jerome – well, there is not as much about him in this memoir but what is there is so sad, so unnecessary. David has so much potential, so much heart, and is given little in return.

And when you don't want to bother with beating your kids at home, ship them off to an expensive institution where someone will abuse them for you.

Even the dog didn't do well, chained outside in freezing weather. But what more can you expect of someone who treats children like these parents do?

There was mention of a person whose voice rose “several octaves.” Really? Several octaves? And the author used an offensive term for gay people, which was jarring to me, and didn't seem right for the person she was becoming.

This was a hard book to read, and should make everyone with even a semi-normal family grateful for what they have. I read the author's book A Thousand Lives, about Jonestown and that helped me understand why people join cults, and the heartbreaking story of Jones's followers. Jesus Land is another eye-opening look at what humans can do to one another. ( )
  TooBusyReading | May 3, 2020 |
The moving survival story of a girl and her adopted brother's journey through an extremely dysfunctional and extremely religiously conservative family, the second half of the book being concerned with their survival in a hellish Christian "private school" run in The Dominican Republic. The "school" reminded me of Jonestown, and I've heard that the author's next book will actually be on Jonestown, which I think is fitting. ( )
  DF1158 | Oct 20, 2019 |
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.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jun 27, 2019 |
Julia and her two adopted brothers don't have it easy. Her parents are ultra religious and take it out more on the boys than Julia. They don't know that every time they beat her older brother, he repays Julia for their abuse. While she adores her younger brother, they have their differences too. She is white and both brothers are black. Eventually, the parents send Julia and her younger brother, David, away to an incredibly strict camp to have the righteousness brought back into their lives.

Incredible book, very sad ending. ( )
  bookwormteri | Jul 10, 2018 |
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Julia and her adopted brother, David, are sixteen-years-old. Julia is white. David is black. It is the mid-1980s and their family has just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees, trailer parks, and an all-encompassing racism. At home are a distant mother--more involved with her church's missionaries than her own children--and a violent father. In this riveting and heartrending memoir Julia Scheeres takes us from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining: surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe--a religious reform school in the Dominican Republic--is characterized by a disciplinary regime that extracts repentance from its students by any means necessary. Julia and David strive to make it through these ordeals and their tale is relayed here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and wry humor.

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