Just read Julia Scheeres's memoir Jesus Land, and damn, I want to buy Julia Scheeres a drink. Or a cola. Chai tea. Jamba juice. Whatever she enjoys.
Scheeres doesn't spend this book bragging about how hard she had it as a kid, though she could, if she wanted. She was raised by crummy, abusive, "religious" parents, alongside two adopted brothers, one sexually abusive, the other her best/only friend in the world. The fact that both brothers were black while the Scheeres family was otherwise white only complicated matters in their racist backwater rural midwestern town. At some point in her high school career, just as she's learning to drink and have sex in order to dull the pain, she and her beloved brother get shipped off to one of these hideous sadistic mindfucking boot camps for kids, this one with a rabidly "Christian" emphasis -- because it's "Christian" to physically abuse and humiliate children.
(And you know, I know too many people who have been in and out of places like that boot camp, and none of them ever stay sober as adults. Places like this will fuck your kid up worse than heroin dipped in crack. Send a kid to rehab, by all means, but not boot camp. My god.)
Scheeres describes all this in full detail, without ever being prurient or self-pitying -- she's just relaying the truth, and there's no hint of exaggeration or manipulation anywhere. It's a totally engaging, infuriating, and enlightening story, if a heartbreaking one, and it makes you want to buy the author a beverage of some sort. A glass of the ole' blood of Christ, perhaps?