In her coming-of-age memoir, refugee advocate Luma Mufleh writes of her tumultuous journey to reconcile her identity as a gay Muslim woman and a proud Arab-turned-American refugee.
With no word for “gay” in Arabic, Luma may not have known what to call the feelings she had growing up in Jordan during the 1980s, but she knew well enough to keep them secret. It was clear that not only would her family have trouble accepting her, but trapped in a conservative religious society, she could’ve also been killed if anyone discovered her sexuality. Luma spent her teenage years increasingly desperate to find a way out, and finally found one when she was accepted into college in the United States. Once there, Luma begins the agonizing process of applying for political asylum, which ensures her safety—but causes her family to break ties with her.
Becoming a refugee in America is a rude awakening, and Luma must rely on the grace of friends and strangers alike as she builds a new life and finally embraces her full self. Slowly, she’s able to forge a new path forward with both her biological and chosen families, eventually founding Fugees Family, a nonprofit dedicated to the education and support of refugee children in the United States.
As hopeful as it is heartrending, From Here is a coming-of-age memoir about one young woman’s search for belonging and the many meanings of home for those who must leave theirs.
About the Author
Luma Mufleh is the founder of Fugees Family, with schools now in Georgia and Ohio and an expanding footprint, bringing educational equity to refugee resettlement communities across America. Her TED Talk on educational justice for refugee families was viewed more than 1.8 million times.
Praise for From Here:
Shondaland.com Best Book for May 2023
★ “A powerful, honest account of an activist’s experiences of being gay in a culture she loves but in which it’s hard to see a place for herself. . . Mufleh’s raw descriptions of finding her place in the world are relatable: Questions of choosing between living your truth or your family’s will speak to readers of many backgrounds. . . Mufleh’s journey shows that acceptance and reconciliation are possible and that those we love can grow and learn. . . A poignant glimpse into human imperfections and the struggle to find one’s place in the world.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “This affecting memoir by refugee advocate Mufleh (Learning America) chronicles her internal struggle to reconcile her identity as a gay Arab Muslim woman. Via clear-eyed prose…this poignant reflection on choice, family, and living one’s truth provides insight into Mufleh’s relationship with her heritage, and how these experiences helped shape her identity and advocacy work.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Activist and author Luma Mufleh masters the beauty of vulnerability in her latest memoir, From Here. Growing up in Jordan … Mufleh had to hide the person she was becoming, especially as she grappled with her attraction toward women. Mufleh understood that if anyone found out she was a lesbian, her life could be in danger. When she’s accepted into college in the United States, Mufleh leaves Jordan and has to carve out a difficult new path as a refugee, finding support through friends who eventually became like family.” —Shondaland.com
“Mufleh details fears Arab women constantly encounter…[s]he methodically shares her struggles with coming out to her family and coming to terms with sexual abuse. Readers will admire Mufleh’s courage to fight for her own rights and her dedication to helping others…This story is a reminder that we have the right to live how we want and love who we want.” —Booklist