Etched In Sand Summary

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Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island (2013) by high-powered attorney Regina Calcaterra is a memoir of her extremely abusive childhood and the path she and her sisters took toward success. The book became a bestseller around the globe.

Its themes include resilience, abuse, and the drive to help others. The memoir is conveyed in the present tense.

The memoir opens to Regina as a successful lawyer and government administrator orchestrating a response effort to Hurricane Sandy.

It then zooms back to some stories from her adverse childhood. Regina and her four other siblings working to survive on Long Island, New York as homeless children. Sometimes they would wonder out onto the
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The neighborhood they live in is dangerous: it is just recovering from a cocaine epidemic; there’s no reliable public transportation; and their mother calls her young children “sluts and whores.” She does not work and relies on her five kids for welfare checks that pay for rent, food, and…show more content…
She takes her anger out on the youngest daughter, Rose. Usually Camille would redirect Cookie’s rage, but Camille hasn’t been home for months. So, Regina intervenes, and Cookie responds by beating her to the edge of consciousness. A teacher suspects abuse and reports the family to a social worker. One day, Regina comes home to find a social worker waiting to speak to her. In the past, Regina and all of her siblings showed great skill in presenting as if everything was fine in the home. But after the beating, Regina has had enough. She admits that her mother is an unstable parent and frequently abusive to all of them.

The younger children are forced into one foster home, and Camille and Regina move into a house managed by an Addie and Peter. The older couple is nice to them and has strict, but very clear, rules.

At 14, Regina chooses to be legally emancipated from her mother. While grateful to be away from her mother, Regina was disappointed that she now had to live with various foster parents. Addie and Peter, however, end up helping her create a more stable
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