Kristy's Reviews > The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood

The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
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Nov 27, 2009

it was amazing
Read in November, 2009

Wow. In spite of a slow start, this was a beautifully written and poignant memoir. I not only felt like I experienced an important history lesson in learning about Cooper's rich family tree and the founding of Liberia, but I also felt like I came to understand more deeply the way in which history constantly demands that women carry profound emotional burdens.

Cooper, who grows up as a happy Congo person in Liberia, has to flee the country with her mom and her sister after a major coup turns the country into destructive chaos. She adjusts to life in the U.S. and experiences the true American dream, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen and fulfilling her aspirations to become a journalist. When she does finally return to Liberia to re-connect with her foster sister Eunice, their reunion is so tender, and her renewed connection to her first home rings true.

Cooper's memoir is painfully honest when it needs to be, reflective as she grows older, and even instructive in its coverage of Liberia's development and self-destruction. Throughout the novel Cooper made me laugh, cry, and reflect on my own childhood and family. I realized again how much everyone's families are the same in their deep and complicated ways of loving each other as well as their experience of life's joys and cruelties. One of the best books I have read this year.
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Barbara Irene Carter I thought your review was the best of those I read, probably because I agreed with all that you wrote. I don't understand the 1 star and 2 stars that others gave it. Well done!


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