Customer Reviews for

The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

The House at Sugar Beach, by Helene Cooper

This is a fascinating memoir by Helene Cooper, a girl born in Liberia, who escapes her homeland to come to the United States as a young teenage. Helene's family are called "Congo People," the privileged descendants of freed American slaves, who founded Liberia in 1822. ...
This is a fascinating memoir by Helene Cooper, a girl born in Liberia, who escapes her homeland to come to the United States as a young teenage. Helene's family are called "Congo People," the privileged descendants of freed American slaves, who founded Liberia in 1822. Her adopted sister, Eunice, is native, or "Country People," and joins the Cooper family as a young girl when her mother gives her up in hopes she will find a better life. Living under the same roof, the girls become the closest of friends, like ordinary pre-teens... before the government upheaval occurs.

Cooper not only tells stories of her youth, but explains the history of her home, especially the politics that surrounded her childhood. She divides the book into two parts, Liberia and America. In Liberia, she lives with her family in a 22-room mansion on Sugar Beach, goes to a private school and knows many men in her family who hold high positions in the government. After the coup in 1980, she arrives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her mother and younger sister. Later, she moves to Greensville, North Carolina, and lives with her father. When she graduates from high school, she enters journalism school at Chapel Hill. I won't go into too many details, because I don't want to ruin the story for those who want to read the book.

One thing I kept wondered about was how Helene was going to follow her dreams and be a foreign correspondent, with all the legal implications of being a Liberian resident. She doesn't go into too much detail about the trials of citizenship, but does tells a story about becoming an U.S. citizen on May 13, 1997.

When I started the book, I had a hard time reading her "Liberian English" and thought it was unnecessary. Halfway through, though, the rhythm of the Liberian voices grew easier to understand, and by the end of the book, I understood her reasoning behind the language she used. What a wonderful story - I highly recommend it!

To learn more about Helene Cooper, listen to an interview she did with Tavis Smiley on Sept. 24, 2008.

posted by storybeader on January 2, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

The House At Sugar Beach

I found this book disappointing. While the author gave a sense of what everyday life was like for her and her family, and gave an account of how her family came to be in Liberia, she did not describe anything concrete about the events leading up to her departure from he...
I found this book disappointing. While the author gave a sense of what everyday life was like for her and her family, and gave an account of how her family came to be in Liberia, she did not describe anything concrete about the events leading up to her departure from her homeland, her new life and what led to her feeling an urgent need to revisit the country. She only alluded to these events, and this is not what I was expecting her to do, after reading the summary of the story. I actually thought that she was quite indolent in recounting her life story, and I was left wanting more.....much more!

posted by trini_jc on February 5, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 9 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    The House at Sugar Beach was good but could have been great.

    Having spent 10 days last December in Liberia working with an NGO to establish medical clinics, and having seen the devastation sixteen years of anarchy brings, I was interested in Helene Cooper's perspective as a native Liberian. I found the first 100 pages of early Liberian background,and the development of class differences enlightening. Cooper finally began to share her personal reactions the last 50 pages writing of her return visit to Liberi. In between I found an average memoir of the successfull American imigrant story. What I did not see in Cooper's story was a revelation that the huge class differences that developed in Liberia, and the upper class childhood she took for granted was a significant part of revolution and devastation that came to the country she loved.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Inspiring

    Great memoir.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is the memoir of a girl from Liberia, she lived a privilege

    This is the memoir of a girl from Liberia, she lived a privileged life up until the Liberian government was taken over and she moved to the United States at the age of 12 or 13. The book was interesting, but there was too much information on the ancestry of the author. If this weren't a book club selection, I wouldn't have finished and that would have been a shame because in the end I'm glad I read it.

    I had trouble deciding what to rate this book. It is split into two parts, I decided that the first part was a two with the second part a four, that's how I came up with a three. There is a lot of what the author calls 'Liberian English' that I found difficult to understand, I had to read parts a couple of times to catch what they were saying. It wasn't that the first part of the book wasn't interesting, it just didn't flow.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1