Helene tells a vivid story about her life growing up at Sugar Beach, a twenty-two-room mansion by the sea. Her childhood was filled with servants, flashy cars, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. When Helene was eight, the Coopers took in a foster child — a common custom among the Liberian elite or congo people. Eunice, a Bassa girl, suddenly became known as “Mrs. Cooper’s daughter.” Helene like my mother is of Americo-Liberian or congo origin descendants of free slaves who left the United States in the late 1800s and founded Liberia.
For years the Cooper daughters — Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice — blissfully enjoyed the trappings of wealth and advantage. But on April 12, 1980, a group of soldiers staged a coup d’état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cabinet. The Coopers and the entire Congo class were now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. Helene, Marlene, and their mother fled Sugar Beach, and then Liberia, for America. They left Eunice behind.
I thought the book was well-written and thought provoking, and though i was only a kid of about 3 or 4 years old when the coup that Helene describe in the book took place,i can still relate to her story, because i remember how scared my parents were during those days too. I know the places she talks about, like Sophies icecream shop to Relda cenema and to Ceasar’s Beach.
The book is a good read, it is a story every Liberian Can relate to,but above all the book reminds you that no matter how long or how far away from home you are, you will always be connected someway somehow to the land of your birth.