The House at Sugar Beach

The House at Sugar Beach

In Search of A Lost African Childhood

Large Print - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In the tradition of A Long Way Gone and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, a world-renowned journalist presents a haunting memoir of a war-torn Liberian childhood and her return to her native country, 20 years after her family's flight, to reunite with the foster sister they left behind.
Publisher: Detroit : Gale ; Waterville, Me : Thorndike Press 2008.
ISBN: 9781410410382
Branch Call Number: 966.6203092 C777c2
Characteristics: 517 p. : ill., geneal. table, map.


From Library Staff

Set in modern Liberia, the author traces her family’s history to slaves who returned to Africa from the U.S. to establish a colony in Liberia.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 19, 2017

recommended by wendy L

zenzee Jun 29, 2015

Once I began the story I could not place the book down. Yes, it is a tough read and bittersweet but so is life. It was refreshing not to have yet another "immigrant tale" and "American dream" narrative. Instead the author takes you on a personal journey of growth, courage and perseverance. She shows you several women learning to survive against the improbable odds of civil war and social unrest. In the end the family remains intact and growing.

hbrown10011 Jun 29, 2015

In all sincerity, I read through one third of this book and was completely underwhelmed. No tension, no conflict, no nothing on which to go on. The author seems to just ramble on and on about her rich, privileged life.

Hang in there, however, as this memoir turns out to be insightful and inspiring. Now I want to learn everything about the history of Liberia.

WVMLStaffPicks Oct 26, 2014

You will learn about the tragedy of a war-torn Liberia in Helene Cooper's moving memoir. When rebellion broke out in 1980, her "Congo" (direct descendants of freed American slaves) upper-middle-class family was forced to flee Liberia, leaving Eunice, her adopted Liberian sister, behind. Highly recommended.

Jun 16, 2014

This poignant memoir is essentially in two parts. The first part deals with the author Helene Cooper's privileged childhood in Liberia and the second part her ascension as a journalist in the U.S.
In the first part we hear of Helene's life at sugar beach - her home which has 22 rooms and is a mansion by the sea. Her family also has flashy cars and are tended to by servants. She even has a foster sister to be her companion. Unfortunately this blissful childhood came to an abrupt end when ca coup overthrew the ruling party and Helene and her family had to flea Liberia.
The second part deals with Helene's angst in her U.S schools and then her meteoric rise in the world of journalism which culminates in her return to Liberia as a U.S citizen. She confronts the dangers of civil war torn Liberia and sets foot at her home, Sugar Beach. She can now cherish the memory of her childhood, "A beautiful dancer disrobing as we bounced along the road away from civilization."
I enjoyed the book and it gave me a good idea of Liberian History.

ChristchurchLib Jun 09, 2014

"In The House at Sugar Beach, diplomatic and political correspondent Helene Cooper evokes the soul of Liberia and details its terrible devastation led by rebel leader Samuel K. Doe. When Doe accomplished a coup against Liberia's elite leadership, "American Liberian" families like Cooper's suffered injury, rape, and death. The Coopers fled to the U.S., leaving behind a foster child, Eunice, and establishing a new life for themselves. Journalist Cooper avoided reporting on Liberia -- until she realized she had to return there to revisit her childhood home and try to find Eunice. "Elegant and eloquent," says Kirkus Reviews." History and Current Events June 2014 newsletter

Jan 08, 2012

Cooper is an adept story-teller, and her prose kept me riveted and curious. I lived not far from Sugar Beach in Monrovia and loved the colloquial Liberian English and reminders of landmarks. A great story with important lessons. I highly recommend this easy read.

kelleypoole Oct 29, 2011

EXCELLENT READ! I'm not much on autobiographies but this is so engaging!!! Definitely recommend it.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top