A beautiful,moving memoir

In recognition of the fact that many of our subscribers are currently enjoying (or enduring) family togetherness, we’re rerunning some of our favorite family-themed VSLs this week. In other words, it’s Holiday Regifting Week at VSL.

There are the self-congratulatory memoirs of celebrities — in general, badly written by someone other than the celebrity. Then there are the memoirs of ordinary people with freakish lives that are full of self-pitying rage but precious little perspective or wisdom.

Then there’s Jesus Land, a perfect memoir, which is newly out in paperback. (Read an excerpt via the link below.) Julia Scheeres isn’t famous (yet), but she is, fortunately, an actual writer. So the very peculiar version of a very all-American childhood that she lived was not wasted on her.

The simple facts of her upbringing during the 1970s and ’80s — evangelical parents, rural Indiana, a white girl with two adopted African-American brothers, gang rape, a brutal and expensive Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic — are as compelling as anything in fiction.

And she’s turned her remarkable raw material into a piece of authentic literature. Jesus Land is full of riveting detail and clear-eyed understanding — frank, funny, scathing, unsentimental, and moving.

This VSL originally appeared October 26.

READ an excerpt from Jesus Land

BUY Jesus Land (Counterpoint Press; 363 pages, paperback)

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. A beautiful,moving memoir