Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra

Tragically heartbreaking, fiercely hopeful.

Synopsis of Etched in Sand by 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.

My two cents

I can't quite express how much I was affected by this memoir. Children are meant to be nurtured, loved, protected; this memoir throws all that away. Regina Calcaterra recounts how she, along with her four siblings, who against all odds stuck together and practically raised themselves since their mother was incapable of doing so.

This book also exposes the pitfalls of the US foster and social welfare systems, how beneficiaries can "work" these systems, and sadly how the very children that the foster system is supposed to protect makes them all the more vulnerable.


I've been getting my share of memoirs for review lately but this one is definitely waaaay up there in the must-reads. It is disturbing, moving, inspiring; it is told with great courage and never succumbs to hopelessness or self-pity.

This is a very tough book to read with its graphic accounts of very young children suffering neglect, abuse and violence. If you are a visual reader, some of these images may be quite disturbing and may stay with you.

While this is not a pretty story, it is one that needs to be told. It is a strong contribution to raising awareness and bringing a human face to the situations of children like Regina and her siblings.

However, despite how disturbing this memoir is, it infused with hope. It highlights the tenacity of the human spirit to transcend suffering and forge forward to create a better future. Until adulthood, the scars -- both physical and emotional -- run deep for Regina and her siblings. But  Regina is truly an inspiration -- she hasn't allowed her circumstances to bring her down, but rather is has defined her drive towards creating a beautiful life not only for herself and her family, but also countless other children by being their advocate.

No words can express my profound admiration for the author to be able to pen this story. My best wishes for Regina and her family.

Verdict: I highly recommend this moving memoir of five siblings who rose above neglect and abuse, and chose to create beautiful lives for themselves. If you are to read one non-fiction book this entire year, make it this one.

 About Regina Calcaterra

Regina CalcaterraRegina Calcaterra was appointed executive director of New York State’s Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response by Governor Andrew Cuomo after she assisted in the recovery of Superstorm Sandy in her capacity as chief deputy executive for Suffolk County. She has provided commentary on politics and policy on national and local media outlets since 2000 and is a passionate advocate for the adoption of older foster children.

Find out more about Regina at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Check out the rest of the tour here.
I received an Advance Reader Copy via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (August 6, 2013)
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1 comment

  1. I was glad to finally read a story of child abuse that provided more details about their lives. Usually, the story end when the child is removed from the abuse and we never know how they turn out to be as adults.


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