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Saturday, September 8, 2012

The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper Part 1


Hello dear readers,

How are you all doing now that ‘meteorological’ summer is over?  I heard someone use that term on the news and found it amusing since summer really doesn’t end until the equinox on September 22 at 2:49 pm.  We are great up here in beautiful Stowe awaiting the leaf peeping season and all the additional visitors to town.  While we are enjoying the wind down of the golf season I am still trying to finish this book.  Hopefully I don’t give up!

Here are some of my thoughts on Sugar Beach and Liberia

  • I am so happy to be living in the USA!  I cannot fathom the living conditions of the people in some of these African countries and then to be on the right side, then the wrong side, then the right side of the law would be horrible. 

  • I am not enjoying this book, especially the writing style.  The use of slang and words that I am not familiar with, or that just won’t stick in my head is difficult reading.  Do you read in varying voices?  Maybe it’s just me but when I read a British or Southern author I read with an accent. 

  • Rogues, heartmen, negee, political adversaries don’t threaten our peace in America.

  • I did not realize that our good old USA had such an organization to ‘give free blacks’ the choice to return to Africa.  As if that would be a good idea anytime? 

How about some questions about the book:
Ø      How did you feel about the history melted in with the story of Helene and her family?  Did it make the story more realistic?
Ø      What do you think of the Cooper’s ‘adopting’ Eunice so that Helene would have a sister to help protect her? 
Ø      At the end of Part 1 – Helene reflects: ‘For six years, Eunice had been my sister, a Bassa girl living in the same house with me, sleeping in the same room, sharing the same secrets.  We were the same, yet we were different.  In my sheltered existence I had never dug deep enough to wonder how much native Liverians resented us.  I had been shocked at the level of hatred expressed when those people started chanting as cousin Cecil was killed, who born soldier? Country woman.  Who born minister?  Congo woman.”  Did Eunice feel that way too?’  Doesn’t it seem strange that after all those years Helene finally recognized that Eunice may have been resentful and then when forced to return to her mother didn’t really want anything to do with Helene again?
Ø      How does Eunice become Bassa again after living with the Coopers?

For now, that is all the reviewing and contemplating I will do with this book.  Be back soon with some additional reflections.   Til then I hope you all are enjoying the BOM for September, the Sandcastle Girls.

Happy Reading,
Barbara

1 comment:

  1. Comments on The House At Sugar Beach:
    First it was good to rejoin the group. The House At Sugar Beach, while my least favorite so far, was interesting. I am glad that our leader continues to find books that I normally would never read. I Was aware of the history of Liberia but only in context of US History, and remembering news from the Doe/Taylor turmoil. I was not aware of the ongoing attachment the original slave colonists had with the USA. What I was most fascinated with was how the former slaves became the elite oppressors of the original native people's. I thought the author realized the irony of all that in her own subtle way. Her reporting from Mississippi was most telling. Not sure why or how Barbara but you have a knack for picking books that share a common theme...how humans of all ethnic, racial and social backgrounds band together and find ways to exert their concept of social order, they always feel their group is better than the "others". It is so human, and at times both depressing and yet fascinating. They say power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Anyway despite difficult reading at times (I agree with that observation), I am happy that I pushed through it. On to the next! Murray Rider!

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