Thursday, July 28, 2011

RESCUING REGINA by Josephe Marie Flynn

Here's a book you may not run across in your local bookstore (if you're lucky enough to still have one: my town has shut down Toad Hall, Barnes & Noble, and - now - Borders). My excellent public library does not yet have a copy.

Anis Shivani of the Huffington Post, however, listed Rescuing Regina among "The 20 Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2011." It is, of course, available at Amazon, where it is #5 of books about emigration and immigration and #10 of books about Central Africa. All five of its editorial reviewers loved it, as did all five of its citizen reviewers. One suggested it should be a movie.

That was my suggestion, too, in the review I've just written for Christian Century, and to which I will link once it is published and becomes available online. But that will not happen for several months, and you might want to know more about this book now.

Regina is a young woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who is gang raped and jailed because she has been speaking in favor of democracy. After she makes a harrowing nighttime escape to America, her husband (who has remained in the Congo) is jailed and tortured - also for being involved in a pro-democracy group. He too manages to escape to America. And here, in the form of America's grossly dysfunctional immigration system, the two of them face further trials. Stripped of the constitutional rights available to any U.S. citizen, Regina is once again imprisoned - and this time, death seems inevitable.

Note: Rescuing Regina is a true story.  The author, Sister Josephe Marie Flynn, is a Milwaukee nun who became the reluctant leader of a community effort to free Regina and send her home to her husband and two young children. You can read more about Sister Josephe, Regina, and the book here.

Note also: Rescuing Regina is not about political ideology. The story is about human rights, not politics. Sister Josephe is an old-school liberal, but many of the people who worked with her on Regina's behalf are right-wing Republicans. Regina's plight was followed by Fox News and by NPR.

Final note: Rescuing Regina is a suspense-filled adventure tale and courtroom drama. Summer is only half over, and you may not be in the mood to read a white paper on immigration reform. This is not that, thank goodness. Rather, it's an inspirational, heart-warming story about what individual heroism and community solidarity can accomplish, even against apparently insurmountable odds.

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