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A Princess Found: An American Family, an African Chiefdom, and the Daughter Who Connected Them All
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A Princess Found: An American Family, an African Chiefdom, and the Daughter Who Connected Them All

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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  97 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Sarah Culberson was adopted one year after her birth by a loving, white, West Virginian couple and was raised in the United States with little knowledge of her ancestry.  Though raised in a loving family, Sarah wanted to know more about the birth parents that had given her up. In 2004, she hired a private investigator to track down her biological father.  When she began he ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by St. Martin's Press
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Jamie
Apr 19, 2011 rated it liked it
I almost gave this book two stars for reasons I will address below, but the redeeming quality that earned it another star is that Sarah's story really is amazing. I really enjoyed the parts about Sierra Leone and her birth father's experiences during the civil war - very enlightening. And the way Sarah and her friends and community came together to raise funds for the school in Bumpe is also inspiring.

But the book is not well written. Almost painfully so at times. Sappy, overly sentimental and o
...more
Liralen
Much like King Peggy, this is one where the execution didn't live up to the premise.

Culberson knew she was adopted; she knew her biological parents were a woman from the U.S. and a man from Sierra Leone. She had a happy childhood and was moving into a successful adulthood when she decided she wanted to know more about her roots -- and what she found surprised her.

Interlaced with Culberson's tale is that of her biological father, back in Sierra Leone, during the war. The timeline of his story isn
...more
Betsy
Dec 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a moving story of an adopted biracial woman and her search for her birth family. Sarah Culberson was adopted at 1yr old and never knew the circumstances surrounding her birth parents giving her up. She's always felt that she needed to excel at everything to be considered worthy of love and acceptance from her family, her peers, her coaches and teachers. Her white adoptive family has always been extremely supportive and loving. When she reaches majority, she decides to try to find her bir ...more
Colleen
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, adult
This is the story of an adopted child who discovers her father is part of an African chiefdom, making her a princess. Although this is every girls dream, its not as rosy as one would think. Sarah's father has survived the brutal civil war of Sierra Leone and there is still a lot of building to do. Sarah takes a long time deciding whether or not she wants to find her birth parents because she fears rejection, so the book is written in alternating chapters detailing Sarah’s life and her father’s l ...more
Lydia
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I loved the way this narrative was structured, with the perspectives alternating from Sarah's first person perspective to the third person review of her father's experiences. The only thing I found distracting was the random mention of boyfriends and the somewhat cheesy title, but overall, this retelling of her story was inspiring and encouraging. I felt like it offered a perspective into historically important moment in the horrible history of Africa, and yet is also provided a glimpse of hope ...more
Rachel Choate
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting story of an adopted child finding her biological parents and also of an African-American girl discovering her heritage. I liked the way Sarah wove her father's story into her own as she was growing up and then searching for him. She deals with very tough issues in the book: how identity is formed, the role of wealthy nations in response to the third world, and nature vs. nurture. It was a fascinating read and I particularly enjoyed following her journey as she unpacks and ...more
Toni
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Sarah Culberson was adopted as a young child. She is biracial, while her adoptive family is Caucasian. This is her fascinating story of identity and the search for her biological parents. It is also the story of her biological father’s struggle in war-torn Sierra Leone. For most of the book, chapters alternate between what is happening in Sierra Leone and what is happening in Sarah’s life in the United States. The stories merge once Sarah finds parts of her biological family. The narrative style ...more
Bernadette
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Adopted at 1 year of age, the author tells of her search for her birthparents and her emotional growth as a result. Culberson is honest and forthright about her feelings for her biological parents, a white mother from West Virginia and black father from Sierra Leone. I enjoyed the short chapters which switched back and forth to Culberson in America and what was happening with her father in Sierra Leone during the devastating civil war in the mid-90s. The contrast between cultures and economies b ...more
Katy
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The true story of Morgantown, WV, native Sarah Culberson, who is adopted by white parents. When she grew up, she wanted to know who her parents are, and, with the support and blessings of her adoptive parents, she finds her parentage. Her mother had passed away before Sarah could find her, but her father is a minor chieftan in Sierra Leone, who welcomed his daughter. Now Sarah uses her celebrity as an actress to help fund schools for her father's village and her adoptive parents help in providin ...more
Damaris
Sep 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, a true story about an American girl who searches for her birth parents. It is not the best written book I have read, but it was a very enjoyable read, heartwarming and disturbing, with interesting information that I did not recall about Sierra Leone's civil war. Since our trip to Africa, I find anything African of interest. I do recommend this for people who enjoy autobiographies.
Amy
Jul 28, 2009 added it
The author had a pretty cool story to tell about her life. In a nutshell, the author of the book had been adopted as a baby and was now in search for her biological parents. While searching, she comes across a peculiar surprise.

I was a little turned off by her biological father. He didn't really seem to take responsibility when he found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. He continued to live his life, while she dealt with the consequences.
Wendy
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: development
Sarah demonstrates that the misgivings we have about our roots disappear when we explore them. I am so grateful that she tells her story in a way that dignifies the birth and belonging decisions made by her family. Her stand that being fully self expressed comes only when those around you are lit up and turned on is true inspiration to me. Tracy Trivas, her co-author, has "diamonds on the souls of her shoes" She writes the story with beauty and economy. Well worth a Saturday afternoon!
Kim
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was simply amazing! I loved the format of this book. The author relates her as a young women setting off for college wondering about her biological parents and alternates with her birth father's struggles during the civil unrest in Sierra Leone...then their eventual (and event filled!)reunion. LOVED IT!!
Reen slagowski
Nov 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sarah, adopted at 1 yrs old finds her adoptive parents and finds out she is a princess. Very interesting quest and look into the lives of the people of Sierra Leone at the time of Civil War. The lifestyle and humility of the people and their gratefulness at finding a lost child. I enjoyed every minute of the book.
Kelle
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is about a biracial girl who is adopted by white parents. She searches for her birth parents finding that her father is from Sierra Leone. She eventually reaches out to him and travels to Africa. It was interesting to see how she struggled to fit into either the "white" or "black" world but that finding her father helped her to feel more at ease with herself.
Jenny
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
Sarah's transracial adoption story is amazing, and the book is in an easy-to-read format with short soundbyte chapters. There were a few "aha" moments for me that were worth bookmarking. She is candid and honest about her emotional journey which I appreciated.
Norma
Oct 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting book about the author's life in America and her biological father's experiences during the horrific civil war in Sierra Leone. Looking forward to the book discussion and the telephone talk with the author later this month.
Sandy
Aug 02, 2011 added it
good story---and not just because it (partly) takes place in west virginia. the writing is unimaginative and simple. perhaps it is written for a very young audience? i liked the story, but not the presentation.
Carol Hunter
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
A fascinating nonfiction book about an African American girl who was adopted by a white couple one year after her birth. I found the chapters that alternated between her life in the U.S. with the terror in Sierra Leone, which was experienced by her birth father, to be very compelling.
Lora Dudding
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
very interesting. Travel in Sierre Leone sounds harrowing and not for the faint of heart. A feel good adoption story.
Kristen
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was an amazing story, but poorly written. But I did think it was fun that Sarah is from Morgantown and her mom taught at my daughter's school.
Hannah
Aug 04, 2010 added it
the story of Sarah finding her birth parents, including her father in Sierra Leon
Lillian
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I learned more about African families and acceptance. Sarah's search for self had an unusually happy ending.
Alex
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was great. It was nice to read about someone finding themselves. I met the author, and she's very sweet; I hope she writes more in the future.
Janette
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great story of how God works through people.
Abby
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it
A perfect recommendation for teens, especially those who identify as bi-racial or who have dealt with adoption.
Speebles
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
a powerful story.
Caitlin
I expected this to be different than it was. Didn't like the voice.
Katharine
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful story of a young woman joining her birth and adoptive families. Thanks to Rachel for recommending it!
Roberta
Feb 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
Could have been an interesting story about an adoptee whose father was African royalty. Terribly written. I can't recommend it. Skipped huge swathes of it.
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