Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Etched in Sand, by Regina Calcaterra

For a large part of their childhood, Regina and her siblings lived a very tremulous life.  The were often homeless, and when they did have a home, no matter how temporary, the children were left to fend for themselves while their mother was off drinking.  When life would get a little too out of control, the children would get placed in foster care.  For years, the children had to fight to just survive, yet somehow, they made it out.

Within moments of finishing this book, I found myself recommending it to several specific people, people who have been serving as foster parents.  I feel like this is such an important story, one that people really need to read.  I had a very strong emotional reaction to this memoir.  While several emotions came up while reading, but the main emotion was anger.  I am so angry that the system failed these children so miserably.  I feel like Regina never should have been in the care of her biological mother, nor should her younger siblings.  The mother's lack of parental skills (and desire to be a parent) was apparent from the beginning, yet the system continued to put these children in danger by returning them to her care.

I know that there is a chance that child protective services have improved in the years since these events, and I also know that there is a lack of good foster parents, particularly for older children.  I am not suggesting that there is an easy answer to situations like these.  But I cannot help but feel something should be, and can be, done.  The writing in the book is honest, and stark, but without assuming the voice of a victim.  Regina is not a victim; she is a survivor.  And thanks to this survivor telling her story, perhaps the system can be improved, and allow for more survivors.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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