The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood

By Helene Cooper
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Simon & Schuster, (9/2/2008)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)


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Helene Cooper is "Congo," a descendant of two Liberian dynasties -- traced back to the first ship of freemen that set sail from New York in 1820 to found Monrovia. Helene grew up at Sugar Beach, a twenty-two-room mansion by the sea. Her childhood was filled with servants, flashy cars, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. It was also an African childhood, filled with knock foot games and hot pepper soup, heartmen and neegee. When Helene was eight, the Coopers took in a foster child -- a common custom among the Liberian elite. Eunice, a Bassa girl, suddenly became known as "Mrs. Cooper's daughter."

For years the Cooper daughters -- Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice -- blissfully enjoyed the trappings of wealth and advantage. But Liberia was like an unwatched pot of water left boiling on the stove. And on April 12, 1980, a group of soldiers staged a coup d'état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cabinet. The Coopers and the entire Congo class were now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. After a brutal daylight attack by a ragtag crew of soldiers, Helene, Marlene, and their mother fled Sugar Beach, and then Liberia, for America. They left Eunice behind.

A world away, Helene tried to assimilate as an American teenager. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she found her passion in journalism, eventually becoming a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She reported from every part of the globe -- except Africa -- as Liberia descended into war-torn, third-world hell.

In 2003, a near-death experience in Iraq convinced Helene that Liberia -- and Eunice -- could wait no longer. At once a deeply personal memoir and an examination of a violent and stratified country, The House at Sugar Beach tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor's gentle humor. And at its heart, it is a story of Helene Cooper's long voyage home.

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CagneyC's thoughts on "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood"
updated on:6/6/2011

Interesting memoir - I learned a lot about Liberia, and generally liked the writing style. 

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Abby's thoughts on "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood"
updated on:4/28/2009



DEFINITELY Unleash it



Jessica's thoughts on "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood"
updated on:3/9/2009



Very Unleashable


"The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood"
By Helene Cooper

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)


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