Also by this author: Girl Unbroken
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on August 6, 2013
Genres/Lists: #30Authors, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours.
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Update: I read that this book sold out on Amazon within 4 days and had to be replenished!
I don’t even know where to start. This book is just that powerful. I’ve been putting off writing this review because I was trying to figure out how to put into words the impact it had on me and I’ve finally realized that I’m speechless. Absolutely speechless. And we all know that never happens. I read this book from cover to cover (until 4 am) and cried for the Calcaterra kids on numerous occasions.
In case you didn’t know, I’m getting my Master’s in Public Policy, so this book impacted me on two levels. The first was the heartbreaking story of the Calcaterra siblings, whose childhoods are demonstrative of what is wrong with our child welfare system. There were times that I wanted to scream because I was so frustrated with the protocols. The second impact has to do with Regina Calcaterra – public policy expert. She is an incredible woman who has made her way in a man’s world, not to mention everything she had to overcome to get there. She had to conquer both the gender gap and her past. She successfully completed college and her law degree, which is no easy feat for a foster child who’s told to marry well. I can safely say that she has secured her spot on my most-admired women list (next to Hillary Clinton). I can only hope that I can enact the kind of positive change that she has.
But back to the book.
Etched in Sand is the true story of Regina Calcaterra and her four siblings who were forced to endure a horrific and abusive childhood. Separated and bounced around from foster home to foster home, the close-knit siblings suffered the abuse of not only their mother (when she didn’t disappear for weeks on end), but also their foster parents. When they were placed back with with their mother, Regina had to steal food to provide for her younger siblings. It’s all heart-wrenching, but perhaps the most tragic part about their story is that they were failed by social services, whose bureaucratic red tape left them fighting for themselves.
Far from being a woe-is-me tale, this is one of perseverance and redemption. Despite the odds, all of the children survived and thrived later in life, especially Regina. Having experienced firsthand the failures of our public policies regarding aging-out foster kids, she is a strong advocate and board member for You Gotta Believe, which focuses on placing older children in foster homes. She has also put her public policy expertise to good use as the Executive Director to NYS Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparedness and Response. I could go on about her various accomplishments, but instead I’ll direct you to the author box or her website.
The point is – you must read this book. Regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, into public policy, or experienced with the foster care system, this book WILL have an impact on you. And thanks to TLC Book Tours, I have the opportunity to send one lucky winner a copy of this book. But if you don’t win, I politely demand that you purchase it.