The Bottom Line
- The reader is swept up in the sights and smells of Helene Cooper's childhood
- The stark violence of civil war makes this book inappropriate for very young readers
- The Coopers are one of the most privileged families in Liberia
- Helene Cooper's childhood was charmed, but she was distraught when her parents divorced
- The tension between social classes in Liberia leads to an awful and bloody civil war
- 'The House at Sugar Beach' - Published by Simon & Schuster in September 2008
Guide Review - 'The House at Sugar Beach' by Helene Cooper - Book Review
Cooper's book is impeccably written, and leaves readers feeling that they've experienced Liberia's beaches and lagoons, that they've tasted cassava leaf and palm oil. The narrative varies from emotional and tactile passages to a more dispassionate recounting of some shocking events, revealing Cooper's journalistic credentials.
The historical sections on the founding of Liberia by free black men from America in the early 19th-century are fascinating and informative. The same is true of Cooper's reporting on current Liberia and its civil war struggles that she witnessed firsthand. The House at Sugar Beach is far more than just one woman's personal story. It's the story of a country -- one that has long been tied to the United States. It is a story that holds significance for Liberians and Americans alike.