Etched in Sand - Regina Calcaterra
In this story of perseverance in the face of adversity, Regina Calcaterra recounts her childhood in foster care and on the streets—and how she and her savvy crew of homeless siblings managed to survive years of homelessness, abandonment, and abuse.
Regina Calcaterra’s emotionally powerful memoir reveals how she endured a series of foster homes and intermittent homelessness in the shadow of the Hamptons, and how she rose above her past while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together.
Beautifully written and heartbreakingly honest, Etched in Sand is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, the American dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.
I don't know where to start this review other than to say this isn't a book for the faint of heart. As a parent myself, there were parts of this book that were really hard for me to digest because I don't know how a person could care so little for their child, let alone five children. I really struggled through parts of this book because you want to think that things can't get any worse but you know that they will and they do. And it really just affirms my personal belief that you shouldn't be allowed to just have kids. It's been proven that just because you can doesn't mean you should.
The story is basically the story of Regina and her siblings who have a mother who isn't just neglectful, but she's also abusive in her moments of actually being there, and these five kids are forced to become mini adults almost immediately. Whether it's trying to make every stop a home, searching for loose change, stealing food and other items to get by, and parenting each other- it's heartbreaking. What makes it worse is that you hope that child protective services would intervene but the kids don't want that because there is real danger in the foster care system. And you periodically hear news stories of foster care gone wrong but Regina's story highlights that it is a much larger problem than we maybe recognize.
Some of the passages about the abuse her and her siblings sustained... horrifying. I mean, I can't even imagine the level of rage a person must have to do such things to a child. There are no words and quite frankly, it's a miracle they got out of it alive. I mean, to do the abuse their mother did, what was to stop her from going totally over the edge?
The best part about this book is Regina and her overall triumph over her childhood. We all know a few people who have had a horrible childhood but instead of rising above it and recognizing that the past is the past, they dwell. Their entire lives are held back because it's all they can focus on. They lose perspective of what they could still be, the life they could still have, the good that is out there. Regina doesn't let her past get the best of her, instead she pursued her education and became a successful adult, a productive citizen, a beacon to others who are currently in a horrible situation.
I absolutely loved this book, though it was difficult to read and I did cry in a few spots. I don't even know Regina, but I am absolutely proud of her and just... there are no words. Check out her Twitter, Facebook, or website to learn more about her and her book.