Allan's Reviews > Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town

Outcasts United by Warren St. John
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Feb 22, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: early, reviewer, book

Outcasts United is the story of the vision and drive of Luma Mufleh an American-educated woman from Jordan who was determined to create an independent life for herself in America – willing to accept the disapproval and disinheritance of her family in Jordan. Luma volunteered to coach a team of refugee children brought together from the world’s war zones and resettled in Clarkston, Georgia. They call themselves The Fugees. Luma’s amazing work ethic and vision of what The Fugees’ soccer program might accomplish drives this story – her tough love approach to coaching allows her talented charges to accomplish the wonderful results seen as the story advances.[return][return]St. John skillfully weaves the individual stories of the refugee families that make up The Fugees, from the violence of Afghanistan to the horror of Bosnia and Sudan, and brings them together into the not quite open arms of Clarkston, Georgia. The difficulties faced by the families with assimilation and adaptation are sympathetically told. Obstinancy and indifference seem to be the hallmark of this vision of the southern small town – perhaps too easily stereotyped in the characterization of the local mayor and town council.[return][return]What is most illuminating about the book is just seeing what a diverse, chaotic, terrifying world we all live in. What most of these boys had to endure, how closed and mean those in power in the South still seems to be and how, in spite of it all, there are people who rise and face the challenges in front of them, pulling along all who are smart and determined enough to follow her lead.[return][return]In the end, this is really a book about Luma, and she's really quite amazing!
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