Regina and her four siblings (Cherie, Camille, Norman and Rosie) did not have a normal childhood - when they weren't in foster care they were either living in their car or waiting to be kicked out of their latest rental accommodation because their mother hasn't paid the rent. It is a stressful time, with the oldest three girls working together to steal enough food to keep the family going, until Cherie and Camille drift away from the family and leave Regina to fend for herself and the youngest siblings mostly on her own.
Regina's story could easily have become one of blame and bitterness, but instead it is an openly honest story of a young teenager who takes her destiny in her own hands and tries to make a better life for herself and her siblings. This is not an easy task for any teenager, but as a teenager living in foster care Regina faces more challenges than most - the least of which is that no one expects a foster child to do more than survive until she ages out of the system.
Against the backdrop of her own personal story is the story of all of her siblings - their trials, their challenges, and the way they cope with what has happened to all of them. This is not an easy or pleasant read, but it is a story of hope and love - and raises awareness of the plight of foster children and abused children around the world. The sad fact is that Regina's voice is not alone, there are hundreds of children everyday in New Zealand who face some of the same challenges - in foster care and with their natural families. This was at times a difficult book to read, but it was deeply satisfying to reach the end and celebrate Regina's success, and the successes of her siblings.
Title: Etched in Sand
Author: Regina Calcaterra
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
- Erika, Central City Library