Monday, February 2, 2015

Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra's memoir, ETCHED IN SAND, is an inspiring and triumphant coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope.  
Regina Calcaterra is a successful lawyer, New York State official, and activist. But her early life was quite different. She and her four siblings survived a painful, abusive childhood only to face the challenges of the foster-care system and occasional homelessness in the shadows of Manhattan and the Hamptons.
A true-life rags-to-riches story, ETCHED IN SAND chronicles Regina's struggle to rise above her past while fighting to keep her brother and 3 sisters together through it all.

Beautifully written with heartbreaking honesty, 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 determination to succeed.

My take: 4 looks

What a heartbreaking story. And the fact that it's true makes it all the more so. Regina and her siblings defied all odds to become stable, loving family members in their own right. Regina took her healing a step farther and became an attorney who joined the government with the idea of enacting change for children in foster care.

While this is an unflinching look at life of abuse and neglect, it doesn't wallow in self pity. It also doesn't make excuses. While the mother of these children was probably mentally ill, she was in control enough of her faculties to make cruel and selfish choices, and was smart enough to manipulate the system.

The look at the foster care system is not a pretty one. Turned away more times than helped, the caseworkers portrayed here were squarely on the side of the mother, and very rarely took the author's complaints and warnings seriously. This was an example of a broken system that did not look out for the welfare of the children.

I normally would not have read this book, but it was a choice in my F2F bookclub; and, I am a better person because of it.


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