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Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island

Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island

Written by Regina Calcaterra

Narrated by Regina Calcaterra


Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island

Written by Regina Calcaterra

Narrated by Regina Calcaterra

ratings:
4.5/5 (97 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 5, 2013
ISBN:
9780062329240
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 5, 2013
ISBN:
9780062329240
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Regina Calcaterra, Esq. is the bestselling author of Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, which has been integrated into academic curriculums nationwide. She is a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and is a passionate advocate for children in foster care.


Reviews

What people think about Etched in Sand

4.7
97 ratings / 24 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    ETCHED IN SAND - Regina Calcaterra - A riveting and at times, heartbreaking story about a group of 5 sibling who are left to raise themselves. One would not expect these children to be living in the Hamptons, but they are indeed. How did these poor, abandoned children wind up living in the Hamptons of all places. It just doesn’t make sense. It is a reminder that sometimes we must look outside the box of “norm”. The author is brave in telling her story. She and the other children experience horrors ar such a tender age that most of us will not experience in a lifetime. Ms.Calcaterra dedicates herself in helping the helpless. Her past has not hardened her heart as it does in many others in her shoes. Instead she turns her life around. She comes out a much better person with an education and a means to support herself. Studies show the majority of children who experienced the abuse, hunger and poverty that she has tend to follow that same pattern into adulthood. They live in poverty and as adults, barely know how to take care of themselves let alone a family that is bound to start.She lived a life of battles. She fought for her siblings. She became a strong woman dispite what life threw at her. As heartbreaking as this story is, it is equally inspirational. Ms. Calcaterra is woman to admire. Any teen would benefit having this women as a role model. She is the definition of “hero”,
  • (5/5)
    A gripping account of how Regina and her 3 sisters and 1 brother survived being homeless, beatings, stealing food and clothing and suffered malnutrition. My heart ached for their suffering. The title "Etched in Sand" came from "their countless homes - fragile, temporary sand castles that we were forced to create in the most resourceful ways, only for them to be knocked down by the rising tides and uncontrollable elements around us."
  • (4/5)
    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.

    Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island by Regina Calcaterra is the true story of the abuse and neglect the author and her siblings suffered through - at the hands of their mother and in a system that wasn't working as it should. Regina notes that her childhood made her very aware of how people in power can impact the lives of others and this knowledge helped lead her to her present day career in public service.

    Regina has two older sister, Cherie and Camille, and a younger brother and sister, Norman and Rosie. Regina makes it clear that their mother, Cookie, was a drunk who was always avoiding the cops. She abused and neglected her children, abandoning them for weeks at a time. She stole, wrote bad checks, and always had a series of warrants out for her arrest. While Cookie's "aim is to put in as little effort as possible to get what she can from whom she can, including the system (pg.31)" Regina (and her older sisters) wanted to keep themselves out of the system entirely.

    These children were in an impossible situation. With their mother there was rampant abuse and neglect for certain, but in the system (foster care) lurked other very real potential dangers. As I was reading this powerful memoir, I literally had to set the book aside several times. It was so frustrating to see a system that wasn't working or groups that were unable to work together or across state lines.

    It was encouraging and inspirational to see how Regina overcame the odds. As an emancipated teen in the system it certainly appeared that she would be lucky to escape from her childhood without any long term trauma. To see how hard and tirelessly Regina worked to overcome her background is a testimony to her determination. The determination she had to try and keep her siblings together or in contact with each other was touching.

    At the same time, Regina is trying to confirm that her father really is the man Cookie has always said is her father. He won't admit it is true but the evidence seems to confirm Cookie is telling the truth. It was good to see a conclusion to this question, although the fact that she had to ask it is heart-breaking.

    In Etched in Sand Regina writes about her childhood in the present tense with a simple straightforward honesty which makes the narrative feel more raw and tragic, if that is even possible. We know she survived this horrific childhood to become the successful adult she is today, but while reading about some of the abuse... oh.my.goodness. It's probably for the best that it is written in this manner, a recounting of the facts as she experienced them when a child.

    This is a well-written personal account of a woman who overcame a deplorable childhood. It might be difficult for some people to read about the abuse, but for those who can, the triumphant conclusion of Regina's story today will outshine the appalling facts of her childhood.

    Very Highly Recommended

    Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC for review purposes.
  • (5/5)
    Loved Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra. Where to start? Her and her four siblings grow up in a very dysfunctional lifestyle with a very sick, abusive mother. There is a lot of physical abuse and alluded to sexual abuse. Ms. Calcaterra is such an inspiration. Despite having to endure responsibilities that go beyond what any young person at the age 14 or younger has to endure she beats the system. I found her writing to be very easy to read; it seemed that she was sitting next to me telling me her story. Her tone was friendly and inviting. I loved Aunt Julia and Uncle Frank, what fantastic people. Hearing about how they played a huge part in Regina’s life and her siblings was very humbling. I was so relieved and happy to hear that Aunt Julia finally gave Regina and her siblings a feeling of love and acceptance. Cookie was a horrific mother. I wish that there had been some redemption for her and that she had a least given her kids some closure but there was none. Regine words it perfectly, “ children are supposed to find their greatest safety and comfort in the arms of their mothers.” P.57. This did not take away from the great success that Regina and her family achieved. When Regina finally meets her grandparents they don’t provide too much insight into what caused Cookie to be who she was. Regina’s relationship with her siblings was really touching and her ultimate connection with Rosie made me cry. Regina and her siblings really are an inspiration. They always fought for each other, “ Rosie needed us to save her, and we tried, but we couldn’t, because when you live on the fringes of society with no resources, you have no voice and your complaints are easily ignored.” (p.232)There were so many parts that I loved but some really stood out: “ my childhood on Long Island gave me a very personal awareness for how people in power can impact the lives of others.” p.3The disappoint with her father was very difficult to bare, after so many years and so many questions… the lengths she had to go to were astonishing. Our current lawmakers should have this staring at them. The system failed Regina and her family over and over but she remains a source of inspiration, “I remember Ms. Van Dover’s words, so I perform well on Mrs. Young’s tests and participate not like my life depends on it, but because my life depends on it.” (p.134) Throughout her life Regina uses school as her gateway to another life and the possibilities it can give her.I wish this was required reading for everyone and anyone, “ no accomplishment has taken place without trial, and no growth could have occurred without unwavering love.” (p.4)Incredible!
  • (5/5)
    I cried and cheered as I hung on every word. Truly inspirational. Bless this family and all children who sadly walk the same path today. The world needs more success stories and the way to get them is by being aware that these situations exist. This writer and narrator will change your life with her story, and continues to change the history of others needing a helping hand.