Scheeres, Julia 1967(?)–

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Scheeres, Julia 1967(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1967, in Lafayette, IN; married. Education: Calvin College, B.A.; University of Southern California, M.A.

ADDRESSES: HomeSan Francisco, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Counterpoint Press, 387 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10016. E-ma?[email protected]

CAREER: Journalist and author.

AWARDS, HONORS: Two-time finalist for Annenberg School for Communication journalism awards; finalist, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award; Alex Award, American Library Association (ALA), 2006, and New Visions Award, Quality Paperback Book Club (QPB), 2006, both for Jesus Land.

WRITINGS:

Jesus Land: A Memoir, Counterpoint Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to news outlets, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wired, San Francisco Chronicle, and Crime Library.

SIDELIGHTS: In her book Jesus Land: A Memoir, Julia Scheeres recounts the story of a childhood in the 1970s and 1980s spent partly in a fundamentalist Christian home and partly in a school for rebellious children in the Dominican Republic. "Her parents had raised her and her adopted brother in a repressive, abusive fundamentalist Christian home," explained Mark Karlin, who interviewed Scheeres for Buzz Flash, "and sent them to a Christian 'boarding school' which was in reality—ironically and tragically—a kind of Hell." "Jesus Land," Karlin continued, "is Scheeres' look back at those painful days, living with so-called Christians whose hypocritical dogma allowed them to abuse the very children whose souls they claimed to be 'saving.'"

Scheeres recounts her ordeal in detail, telling of repeated sexual abuse by her rebellious adopted oldest brother and brutal discipline enforced by her surgeon father. "We didn't talk about problems or issues in my house," she told BookPage interviewer Martin Brady. "You were told what to do, and you obeyed. If you broke the rules, you got spanked—or whipped, in my brothers' case. I grew up fearing and avoiding my father—not a healthy situation." Sent to the Dominican Republic boarding school Escuela Caribe, she learned to survive by pretending to conform, avoiding the physical abuse endorsed by the school's evangelical leadership—but, she explained to Karlin, she still has nightmares from her memories of the institution. "I don't think people ever fully recover from ritual abuse of any sort," she told Brady. "I still get into funks, but have learned to better negotiate them."

Even more a victim than Scheeres, however, was her adopted brother David, also sent to Escuela Caribe. "More than anything," Scheeres told Charlotte Abbott in Publishers Weekly, "the book is a vindication of my brother David's life. He was always looking for love, for a family, and he was denied that. Writing this book has helped ease the longing that his death left me with."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Jesus Land: A Memoir, Counterpoint Press (New York, NY), 2005.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Jesus Land, p. 42.

Entertainment Weekly, September 30, 2005, Nicholas Fonseca, review of Jesus Land, p. 99.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of Jesus Land, p. 781.

Library Journal, November 1, 2005, Mark Alan Williams, review of Jesus Land, p. 86.

Mother Jones, September-October, 2005, Michelle Chihara, review of Jesus Land, p. 82.

People, November 7, 2005, Porter Shreve and Jonathan Durbin, review of Jesus Land, p. 53.

Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2005, Charlotte Abbott, "Growing Up Evangelical," p. 44, and review of Jesus Land, p. 49.

San Francisco Chronicle, February 19, 2006, Marc Weingarten, "In Spite of Abuse, Siblings' Love Survives."

Vogue, November, 2005, Kate Bolick, "Truth Be Told; Two Memoirs Burst with the Immediacy of News Headlines," p. 244.

ONLINE

BookPage, http://www.bookpage.com/ (April 26, 2006), Martin Brady, author interview.

Buzz Flashhttp://www.buzzflash.com/ (November 22, 2005), Mark Karlin, "Julia Scheeres Revisits the Harsh Jesus Land of Her Youth," author interview.

Julia Scheeres Home Page, http://www.juliascheeres.com (April 26, 2006).