Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pilgrim's Wilderness : A True Story Of Faith And Madness On The Alaska Frontier
by Tom Kizzia

One day in the winter of 2002, a family showed up in a town called McCarthy which was an isolated area in Alaska. The father calling himself Papa Pilgrim had his wife and fifteen children with him. To the residents, they thought that the family were pious, very religious, and industrious. At first, they were welcomed. But then when they bulldozed a road illegally through the mountains, the family was at war with the National Park Service. 
This is a very disturbing story about a man who had a dark side and used it against his family. Many parts are difficult to read. Some sections of the book, though, can be quite dry and boring when the author writes about the politics of the area and goes into long chapters about the government, the land, the infighting.
I wouldn't call the book riveting, a masterpiece, eloquent as other reviewers have. It does keep your interest for the most part.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Etched In Sand : A True Story Of Five Siblings Who Survived An Unspeakable Childhood On Long Island
by Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra along with her four siblings had a horrific childhood. They spent most of it in either foster homes or on the streets living in abandoned houses. When there were no abodes available, they slept in the car. Their mother was an alcoholic who would disappear for weeks and sometimes months and the children had to fend for themselves. When she would return, they dreaded it. If she was in a bad mood, the beatings were heinous. They learned to rely on one another to survive.
The reason I decided to put my review on this particular blog had nothing to do with the subject matter. I have never read anything before like what these siblings went through and it's certainly an eye-opener. Much of what is written in this book is repetitive, though.
What I want to point out is that the true author of this book is not Regina Calcaterra. She used a ghostwriter named Kristine Gasbarre and in the Acknowledgements, Calcaterra gives her credit for writing her thoughts and memories exactly how she would have done it. Calcaterra calls her a co-writer so then Gasbarre's name should be on the front cover. If you doubt this, check out Gasbarre's book, "How to Love an American Man" and read the excerpt on the Barnes & Noble website. The style is IDENTICAL to Etched in Sand and this is why it was so readable.