Jesus Land: A Memoir
The memoir the New York Times Book Review called "heart-stopping and enraging" and about which Entertainment Weekly raved "Jesus Land will break your heart and mend it again"
"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's black, makes them both outcasts. At home, a distant mother--more involved 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, racist brutality, and a deep-seated restlessness prove too much to bear, their parents' solution is reform school--in the Dominican Republic.
In this riveting memoir, first-time author Scheeres takes us with her from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining. Surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe is nonetheless characterized by a disciplinary regime that demands its teens repent for their sins under boot-camp conditions. Julia and David's striving to make it through is told here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and not an ounce of malice.