Book Review: Jesus Land

This book is the true story of how the author, Julia Scheeres was raised with her adopted brothers in the 70’s and 80’s. I’m going to quote from her website, since she’s much more articulate than I am:

Jesus Land is about my close relationship with my adopted brother David. It covers our Calvinist upbringing in Indiana and our stint at a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic as teens.

David, an African American, was adopted by my family in 1970, when he was 3. We were the same age.

The book begins with our move to rural Indiana and our transition from a tiny Christian school to a large, public school where David and my other adopted black brother were the only minority students. It ends with David and me on a beach in the Dominican Republic. It’s a pretty wild ride between these two events.

The central theme of Jesus Land is how race and religion tested our relationship. It’s a book about a couple of misfit kids learning to survive in a hostile environment, and the transcendence of sibling love.”

They end up in a crazy reform school in the Dominican Republic.


This book does not have  happy ending. I kept fighting through all the sad, bizarre, and tragic things that happened to them, hoping it would all turn out great. If you don’t like sad books, do NOT pick this one up. It’s very well written, but it’s tough to read.


So on the Clever Chick scale, it gets a “It was good, and I’ll probably never forget it, but I’m selling it”. This makes 14 books read for the year. My average is almost 1 a week! Frankenstein really slowed me down, though. I’m reading a fairly good one right now, and I’ve managed to clean several off my shelves with this process. It helps that I stopped buying more! I was cleaning out the guest room and found 6 or 7 more though…what can I say, it’s a vice I’m working on.


May 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Book Reviews.


  1. Mom replied:

    This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. The only thing good about it was that it made The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club seem like fairly happy stories about nearly normal childhoods in comparison. I looked back on them fondly after reading this.

    It also made me realize how blind we can be – we can share situations with very similar people but never have a clue what they might be going through.

    • thatcleverchick replied:

      I know what you mean! I don’t know what else to even say about this book. It’s just bizarre to think that there are people like this in the world who think treating children like that is not only ok, but the best way possible.

  2. Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale « My Attempts at Cleverness replied:

    […] yourself after having me read “Reading Lolita in Tehran”. Yes, I know I made you read “Jesus Land”, but I read it too, so we’re both equally traumatized. “The Thirteenth Tale” made […]

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