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

by Helene Cooper | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 9780743266253 Global Overview for this book
Registered by rootmartin of Wellesley, Massachusetts USA on 7/22/2009
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by rootmartin from Wellesley, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Product Description

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.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Book has arrived, thanks. Won at th Bio/Memoir swap on BookObsessed. I've seen this book offered a few times in various swaps so I am sure it's a good one.

Journal Entry 3 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Sunday, November 13, 2011
I have to admit I didn't like the book initially - it was just some spoiled, rich kid bragging about her privilege life and distinguished pedigree, and I honestly can't say I care about that. As the autobiography continues, however, the humanity of it expands, and I can better relate to the author.

Journal Entry 4 by wingAzukiwing at PBS member in PBS, PaperBackSwap.com -- Controlled Releases on Monday, August 27, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (8/26/2012 UTC) at PBS member in PBS, PaperBackSwap.com -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Sending to a PBSer in RI.

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