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The house at Sugar Beach : in search of a lost African childhood
Helene Cooper
Adult Nonfiction DT636.53.C66 A3 2008b

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This stunning memoir by journalist Helene Cooper relates her early years living at the Sugar Beach estate in Liberia until a coup d'etat drove her mother, sister and her to America, where they attempted to fit in. The story is a sprawling, epic tale of struggle and survival in the face of adversity, and Cooper relates it with a genuine and emotional voice. As Cooper's tale unfolds, her intimate reading draws listeners into the family as their journey begins. Cooper may not read with a lot of frills and thrills in her somber voice, but the experience is affecting and indelible. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 10). (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Cooper, a New York Times diplomatic correspondent, writes of her life as a privileged Liberian ultimately forced to emigrate to the United States. Sometimes humorous, at other times shocking, she is always engaging and informative although not highly reflective. Cooper describes her comfortable life in an elite Liberian family, introducing her relatives, the family servants, and Liberian language, culture, and society. In 1980, when she was a teenager, Samuel Kanyon Doe's coup d'etat ended it all. The horrors of those times--the televised executions (whose victims included friends and relatives), the rapes (of her mother and schoolmates), and the recruitment of children as soldiers--are all clearly rendered. The most compelling chapters in Cooper's memoir, which goes up to her revisiting Liberia in 2003, profile a Liberian named Eunice whose tribe was living in the country when Cooper's American ancestors arrived. Her parents took in Eunice as a companion for Helene, and they became lifelong friends. Eunice's life swung from poverty to wealth (with the Coopers) and back to poverty (when the Coopers moved to America); why she did not go with them is not clear. A great book discussion selection; recommended for academic and public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/08.]--Tonya Briggs, Oberlin Coll. Lib., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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