One of the most compelling, page-turning memoirs to come along in years - by turns jarring, shocking, and funny. Jesus Land is the story of two children growing up in fundamentalist Christian America. Sinners go to: HELL. Rightchuss go to: HEAVEN. The end is neer: REPENT. This here is: JESUS LAND. Julia Scheeres stumbles across these signs along the side of a cornfield while out biking with her adopted brother, David. It's the mid-1980s, they're sixteen years old and have just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees and trailer parks - and a racism neither of them is prepared for. While Julia is white, her close relationship with David, who is black, makes them both outcasts. At home, a distant mother (more invoived with her church's missionaries than with her own children) and a violent father only compound their problems. When the day comes that high-school hormones, bullying, and a deep-seated restlessness prove too much to bear, the parents send Julia and David to the Dominican Republic to a 1980s Christian version of Brat Camp. In this riveting memoir, first-time author Scheeres takes us with her from the Midwest to a place beyond our imagining.
Surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe is governed by a disciplinary regime that demands its teens repent for their sins under boot-camp conditions. Julia and David's determination to make it through their childhood and the camp with heart and soul intact is told here with immediacy, candor and sparkling humour.
Julia Scheeres has a B.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Southern California. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, El Financiero, and Wired, and has twice been a finalist for journalism awards presented by the USC Annenberg School for Communication. She lives in Oakland, California.