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

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

Helene Cooper

Journalist Helene Cooper examines the violent earlier of her domestic kingdom Liberia and the results of its 1980 army coup during this deeply own memoir and finalist for the 2008 nationwide ebook Critics Circle Award.

Helene Cooper is “Congo,” a descendant of 2 Liberian dynasties—traced again to the 1st send of freemen that set sail from manhattan in 1820 to came upon Monrovia. Helene grew up at Sugar seashore, a twenty-two-room mansion via the ocean. Her early life used to be jam-packed with servants, flashy vehicles, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. It used to be additionally an African adolescence, jam-packed with knock foot video games and sizzling pepper soup, heartmen and neegee. while Helene was once 8, the Coopers took in a foster child—a universal customized one of the Liberian elite. Eunice, a Bassa lady, all at once grew to become referred to as “Mrs. Cooper’s daughter.”

For years the Cooper daughters—Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice—blissfully loved the trimmings of wealth and virtue. yet Liberia was once like an unwatched pot of water left boiling at the range. And on April 12, 1980, a bunch of infantrymen staged a coup d'état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cupboard. The Coopers and the full Congo classification have been now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. After a brutal sunlight assault via a ragtag staff of squaddies, Helene, Marlene, and their mom fled Sugar seashore, after which Liberia, for the United States. They left Eunice behind.

A international away, Helene attempted to assimilate as an American youngster. on the collage of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she came across her ardour in journalism, finally turning into a reporter for the Wall highway Journal and the New York Times. She mentioned from all the things of the globe—except Africa—as Liberia descended into war-torn, third-world hell.

In 2003, a near-death event in Iraq confident Helene that Liberia—and Eunice—could wait not. immediately a deeply own memoir and an exam of a violent and stratified state, The apartment at Sugar Beach tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor's mild humor. And at its center, it's a tale of Helene Cooper’s lengthy voyage domestic.

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