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Scheeres, Julia. Jesus land, a memoir.

SCHEERES, Julia. Jesus land, a memoir. Counterpoint, Perseus. 363p. c2005. 1-58243-354-2. $14.00. A

This memoir of a sister and brother's close relationship growing up in a Calvinist family in rural Indiana in the mid '80s is not for the faint of heart. Julia is white and David is one of her two adopted black brothers. When the book begins, she and David were both 16; they were inseparable since they were three. Her parents were viewed as religious and kind when they adopted two unwanted children in addition to raising their own four children. In reality, their doctor father was distant and cold and enjoyed beating his black sons. Their mother showed none of her children affection and was miserable except when she was at church. Their older adopted brother molested Julia from the time she was very young. Eventually Julia sought out alcohol and promiscuity as an escape, while David kept believing that his family and everything else would turn out all right. After their father broke David's arm while punishing him, they decided to send him to Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic, and Julia soon followed. The trials they faced at the reform school were harrowing. The one constant in this story is the true bond David and Julia shared throughout. There are many graphic scenes of promiscuous teenage sex and other acts of rebellion as well as cruelty by the parents and "counselors" at the reform school, but the story is told with such honesty that it is a compelling read. Nola Theiss, Sanibel, FL

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Author:Theiss, Nola
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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