Melissa Andrews's Reviews > The House at Sugar Beach

The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
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's review
Apr 10, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: biography-memoir, book-club
Read in April, 2009

I enjoyed this book. I never paid much attention to the various struggles going on in Liberia and this provided a graphic picture. It also gave unique insight into the creation of Liberia as an American "colony".

The book touches many issues that could generate interesting discussions:

* Why would blacks who knew first-hand the problems with slavery and class institute those same structures in their new country?
* Why do people think they should go into other people's countries/lands and take them over? What gives them the right?
* Why did Africans sell each other into slavery?
* Why do many African "liberations" lead to worse opportunities for the local people?
* What causes the crazed behavior that takes place during war?
* How could people survive for 13/15 years in a war-torn environment and still maintain their dignity?
* Why do people in 'privileged' situations not realize how the things they do are offensive to those of 'lower' classes?

I have an infant son and I cannot imagine anyone taking him away from me to make him into a child soldier. But I can definitely imagine fighting anyone or enduring anything to protect him.

I read reviews of this book that faulted Ms. Cooper for not focusing enough on the "issues" - I don't think her point was to address any of these issues or provide solutions. It's a memoir - she chose not to analyze or rationalize; she just told her story, honestly, and I appreciated that.
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Reading Progress

04/09/2009 page 287
81.07% "I am loving this book. I enjoy Helene's storytelling style."

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